Dad parked in front of the white, stone entrance. Even there I could see that things had changed. On the new school crest there was a beast standing on two legs. It had sharp teeth, raised claws and it glared down at visitors to school.
I scanned the familiar, red brick building as I walked around the front of the car to join Dad, “That’s different.”
He put his hand on my shoulder as we stepped into the reception area. He pressed both the buzzer, and my arm, while we waited. The secretary wove between the desks towards us; her expression did not match the “Welcome to Woodford College” banner on the wall.
“Good Morning. I’m Simon Trainer, and this is my daughter, Jess. We’re here to see the Headteacher.”
She picked up a pen and tapped it on the diary date, “Mr McIntyre is in his office. I’ll let him know you’ve arrived. Please push the green button and I’ll let you in.”
We walked into the brown, tiled corridor and sat beside the office. I smoothed the fabric of my trousers over my knees. I tried to make sure that my toe tapping was invisible inside the shoes I forced to remain still.
“Mr McIntyre will see you now,” called the assistant as she approached.
Glancing at Dad, I caught the moment he narrowed his eyes and straightened his shoulders. His preparation for battle didn’t match his, "It’ll be fine."
We followed the secretary into the room dominated by a long, curved desk. Our view of the new Headteacher was limited to a glimpse of his mid-brown hair, and the jacket of a charcoal suit, as Mr McIntyre turned to reach into a low drawer in the filing cabinet behind his chair. He paused, drew a deep breath, before he swivelled back around.