“Good morning, your name is Mr Brown, isn't it? I have been expecting you.”
“No, Miss Stiltoe is not here today, she is in hospital.”
“Oh, no! Nothing bad, just a very needed examination.”
“No, she doesn't know that you are here today, I didn't tell her, there is no need. I wrote the report for the last school year, I've read your response and I want to speak to you about it.”
“I know that Miss Stiltoe has written the yearly report for the Inspectorate of Schools for many years, but the last one I wrote. I discussed it with Miss Stiltoe, who you know is now the head teacher of this school, and we both signed it.”
“Yes, Mr Brown, I am a schoolgirl, but I am also the administration assistant to the head teacher. Let's discuss your response, I have a few questions.”
“Why do you only respond to section thirteen of the report? Was the rest of the report so good? And why is your response so negative? It suggests things that are definitely not true.”
“We reported only one problem with a schoolgirl, we were not unprepared, she had been under observation for a number of weeks before her breakdown. It's all in the report.”
We picked up Katie's parents at the railway station and drove to the hospital. I sat in the back with Katie's mother. No one spoke.
“Mrs Droodle please, we are not going to a funeral. Katie is not dead. She's just had a breakdown. Your daughter will get better and then she can come back to school and take her exams.”
Katie was sitting on a bed looking out of a window. I sat down next to her and held her hand. “Hello Katie, your mum and dad are here to see you.”
“Hello Jennffer, yes it's very nice to see you, Mum and Dad. Sorry that I am a bit slow, it's these tablets they give me.”
Mrs Droodle threw herself at her daughter – very emotional.
“Just the one case in that year. And the girl recovered and is back here in school.”
“Yes, there were also two teachers with problems. Again we had them under observation, they both had very little contact with the girls, very few teaching hours.”
I remembered Miss Pringold and Miss Haroyd on the sofa, bound together with a huge padlock and chain. That nearly gave me a breakdown, but darling Miss Scunthorpe saved me.
“It's all in the report. But you, Mr Brown, wrote in your response that the school was not prepared and that the two teachers were doing illegal things with the girl. However you do not say what. Your criticism, Mr Brown, is worthless.”
“I was warned about you by Miss Stiltoe and by the headteacher of a nearby school. They said that you would ignore all the good points in the school year report, such as our girl-boy-programme, and bad-mouth section thirteen.”
“I wondered if you, Mr Brown, are suitable for the position of school inspector. I have read your response, as I have said before. They were right and so am I.”
“It gets worse, Mr Brown. I requested from the Inspectorate of Schools, your department, a few copies of other responses that you have made. They send me a huge pile of your responses.”
I held up a page with several small rectangular holes in it. “Yes, they cut out all the names.”
Well, if you didn't know it before, you know now, Mr Brown. Your colleagues hate you.
“Miss Stiltoe and I have decided to write to the Inspectorate of Schools because you respond only to section thirteen and very negatively. We will also send a copy of the letter to all the other schools in this county and invite them to also write.”
Perhaps Mr Brown, you be transferred to the Department of Agriculture and become an inspector of pigsties.
“Just go, Mr Brown!”