Sunday, 1 June 2008

The Big Move - Number One

Well, we've kind of moved. The week before half term was spent packing, with the Friday being official packing day. Luckily a lot of the staff had started packing as soon as crates arrived the previous week, because by the morning of official packing day most of the crates had gone. The otherwise wonderful Harrow Green had seriously underestimated the amount of stuff that needed to be moved (I reckon some of the cupboards hadn't ever been cleared out), and an emergency delivery was made by lunchtime. In the interim the squirrel instincts of our Premises Manager also meant that we stumbled across a secret supply of spare crates that averted a disaster while we waited for delivery. The Year 7 students spent the day in a carnival workshop, which ended with them forming a procession outside the old block to say goodbye to it. They looked great in their recycled Loot newspaper costumes and it was a bit of welcome light relief from packing.

By 3.30pm on the Friday everyone who should have been packed was packed, and many of us were enjoying a "cold drink" supplied by the Head.

I managed to slip off on holiday for a few days at the beginning of the week and returned to find that everything had been hauled from one end of the school to the other, so I've spent the past few days fine tuning the furniture move. I'm knackered just from four days of running up and down stairs (with minimal lifting) so it's hats off to the removal folk. They just cracked on with everything, didn't once look huffy when I told them the filing cabinet in the far corner of a room behind 30 crates needed to be hoiked out and moved to another room, and even made me a cup of tea on Sunday. Many of them are based in Newcastle and apparently they come down to London as a team, work double shifts seven days a week for a fortnight and then go back home. Apparently this was a really tough job because of the number of staircases they have to navigate, so they're not too enchanted by the idea of doing the February move, but I'd be happy to have them back again.

Of course not everything's rosy in the garden....

To say the ICT is a bit of a nailbiter is an understatement. There are around five different sub-contractors involved in getting the ICT to work excuding RM and Wilmott Dixon. Some report to Wilmott Dixon and some to RM. The job of co-ordinating everything and trouble-shooting seems somehow to have fallen to our Network Manager who is not paid a daily rate for project management, and in fact works way over his hours and weekends unpaid on a regular basis. Part of the problem is that sorting out the ICT decant was fraught with problems and everything was left until the last minute. Contracts, contracts. Nick's been in all weekend, and at close of play today felt things were just about on track for providing an ICT service for students on Wednesday - but it's going to be a close run thing.

The admin offices are absolutely stuffed with crates. Some faces are going to drop tomorrow when they see what's been crammed into the new spaces. The new classrooms generally look fine, though, and the removal folk will be on hand for the next couple of days to sort out any problems.

We're having to run the new blocks from two generators, because our electricity usage was negotiated in 1969 and we're already over capacity. Painful negotiations are taking place to increase capapcity, but in the meantime it's generators and fuel deliveries. The generators are noisy. Following firm advice from ICT folk the ICT power was left running on Friday. On Saturday morning a local resident unsurprisingly and not unreasonably made a "strong point" to the builders, so the generators will have to go off every night. Getting them back up again and sequencing the ICT takes an hour every morning. We will need to find a workaround quickly because we need to be able to take phone calls from 7.30 onwards.

Tomorrow the staff return from half-term, so I'm bracing myself for an extremely busy couple of days, although I know we'll be supported by Nick, the builders and removal folk. We'll be having a post-mortem meeting next week and hopefully we can iron out a few of the glitches for the next big move (number two) in February.

No comments: