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As a teacher, I once was given a T-shirt which listed all the different jobs that teachers do. Unfortunately it was rather too embarrassing to wear, so it went in a special place – along with my ‘World’s Best Teacher’ spoon and my ‘Best Teacher Ever’ mug.

These days there is an equally long list of jobs that fall within my remit, of which headteacher is just one. Teacher, mediator, restauranteur, events manager, communications director and site manager are all on there somewhere, but this week I realised that on top of this, I have been running a recycling centre.

With the pattern of the school year established, I tend to use the rule of thumb, ‘if it wasn’t used last year, it’s unlikely to be used again’ and as such I am fairly ruthless when it comes to rationalising our resources. It sometimes gets me in trouble: ‘has anyone seen the gingerbread oven – I put it in the basement?’ However, my strategy of denying my enthusiasm for getting rid of stuff seems to work most of the time.

For some reason, probably being mindful of budget limitations, school staff can be very reluctant to abide by the mantra ‘if in doubt, chuck it out’ and, applying caution, move things that are never going to be used again down to the school basement, just in case. For those of you who have not been down there, the school basement is a cavernous space, pretty much the size of the footprint of the school, and it’s full of everything you can think of. The problem is, it’s so full, it’s become impossible to find anything, and if by luck you do, you can’t get it out anyway.

The start of term is the traditional time to have a good clear out, and with the basement, resource rooms and cupboards full to bursting, this year we really went for it. Lorry loads of stuff was taken away, skips were filled, Highgate charity shops stocked for years to come and we definitely got our money’s worth from Veolia. The amount of stuff we got rid of was staggering.

However, roll forward a few days and the clutter has returned. Boxes of old books, children’s toys, clothes, crockery, a rather wonderful Silver Cross pram have all mysteriously appeared. Where it all comes from, nobody knows, but I suspect it’s not just the teachers who are reluctant to get rid of things.

Don’t get me wrong, I love donations and as a school we do brilliantly well from the generosity of our parents, but our school cupboards are currently full!