That's the final point on my job description. As a school secretary you assume it may mean filing, ringing up parents, consoling upset students - maybe even looking after a stray dog that turns up on the premises. All of which I have done. But the other duty that I unenthusiastically take on is to assist in the final work experience briefing to Year 10 students.
For this is the one where we discuss the nitty gritty of work experience, what to expect, how to act and what to wear. In previous years we just said 'suitable smart office clothing' (unless they are going to work in a stables or an animal rescue centre where clearly this would not be sensible!) Then came the fateful year of 2011 when a young lady doing work experience at the local Catholic Primary School turned up wearing a leopard print bra top underneath a skimpy 'playsuit' which comprised of a very short pair of shorts. Oh yes, someone's mother saw their daughter go out the door wearing that and thought 'ah, doesn't she look smart for her first day of work experience.' Needless to say, the headteacher took one look, sent her home to change and we realised that we needed to be a little more specific.
So my friend who is in overall control of work experience decided it would be fun (?) for us to take the final briefing assembly dressed inappropriately. Her in her poshest evening dress with gold bolero top and very elaborate jewellery (well we ask for smart!) and me in sarong, flip flops, sunglasses and this year, a floppy sun hat (we tell them to be comfortable and in clothes suitable for a warm sunny day). I suggested that this year we swap roles and I do the posh outfit but she pulled rank on me and that was that.
So, today's the day. I thought I had got out of it as the Headteacher wanted me involved in a meeting with the Senior Leadership team at the time the assembly was. But it was agreed that as I was such an integral part of the assembly (clearly no one else rocks the sarong look like me) I could take part in the first half and then leave when it got to the part where it is mainly powerpoint presentation and the Comic Relief Catherine Tate/Tony Blair sketch. Providing everything ran to time, I could divert into the loo and get changed before joining the great and the good in the Head's office.
10 minutes before we started, I tiptoed down the corridor to the Ladies so that I could get changed. I don't always tiptoe in school (because that would just be silly) but it's exam time and we have to be silent outside the hall. So like Wonderwoman spinning in a phone box, I entered the Ladies in smart black trousers, high heels and a top and came out in a multi-coloured sarong and flip flops. Looked left and right, no one around, I could escape to the main office without anyone seeing me. Tiptoe past the hall and as I almost make it to the swing doors of reception I see the Head of Drama heading towards me. He's kind of new to the school, only ever knows me as the part time lady in the office, his jaw literally dropped, a frown appeared on his brow and his lips made the silent shape of 'What????'. Shortly before they changed into a large grin of 'what DO you look like?!'
Anyhow, as I said, if all went to plan, I could make my change back comfortably and take my place in the meeting. Only it didn't run to time, did it? The Head of Year took forever to register the girls and we ended up starting about 10 minutes late.
Which is how I ended up taking part in an important meeting with the Head wearing just a sarong and flip flops.
Next year I'm insisting on the posh dress.