I have been doing supply teaching again for the past few months and have returned regularly to a school I was at 7 years ago. I cover various subjects, not just my specialism. The building is old and tired looking. It is a long walk from one of the buildings to the staff room. Most of the classes I cover are a tip. Messy files and books, broken shelves, paper all over the place, outdated display boards. Cover work is often written on bits of paper and left on the desk. Now, you might think I am criticising this school. On the contrary, I love working there and I am requested regularly for supply. To an outside observer, this may seem like a school that is not doing well, but the first thing I noticed after 7 years, is that hardly any of the staff have left. The same faces, the same Head Teacher, teachers and support staff. I am always greeted with a smile like an old friend. The students are polite and wear their uniform well. In the staff room I am included in discussions and tea and coffee is always available and free (I mention this one, because very often you have to pay for a drink from the coffee machine or there are no guest mugs, sugar or milk). The school have never had a less than Good Ofsted. The other day I saw the Head Teacher doing lunchtime duty on the field, picking up papers as he walked around. A very quiet, softly spoken, almost nerdy man, but he has the respect of all the staff and students alike. This made me think, what makes a good school? Clearly the person at the helm makes all the difference. From speaking to staff, they are supported. There are no sneaky lesson observations disguised as learning walks, and bullying tactics disguised as support plans. Everyone seems to know where they stand. They are not policed. They are left to teach in whichever way they see fit. Their success is evident from the league tables and their GCSE results. Now my only dilemma is I cannot get a job there, because no-one leaves. I have had my eye on the school now for 8 years and look out regularly for job adverts. In all this time I have only seen 2 and both were for subjects I could not teach. It really makes one question what is important in the great scheme of things.