Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Cover




Statement given by Miss Geraldine Clay, Year 7 English teacher, Bodsworth High School, Birmingham.

"I arrived about eight forty, the way I usually do, you know. Time for a quick cup of coffee before we begin. I remember I got the last space near the front office. Birds sit in the trees further back, so you don't want to park your car underneath them. Anyway...I went into the staff room just after I told Nicola Bryant and her friend Amanda off for running in the corridor leading into the dining room. Nice girls but a little naughty now and again. Year 8 with Miss Rice. Anyway...I saw the cover teacher standing by the tea cupboard. You can always tell the cover staff. Their lanyards are yellow and they tend to look lost. I said hello but didn't give him much more thought. I was thinking about my soliloquies for period one".

Statement by Mr Patrick Woodcock, Assistant Head.

"I'd gone in for a few minutes. Needed to catch Tony before he went into PE. There'd been a safeguarding issue the day before. He hadn't dealt with that type of thing before and had been a bit nervous. As I was the lead when it happened I just wanted him to know that he'd been spot on with his approach. To the letter in fact. Guessed he was worried. I mean safeguarding is such a powder keg these days. I saw him chatting to Max, the intern we've got shadowing him and excused myself. Wanted to just have a word in Tony's shell. I remember he remarked upon my tie. Ghastly thing my wife had got me as a joke. Doctor Who number. Tardises all over it. Known Tony years so when he cracked that line I guessed my errand was probably unnecessary  but wanted to just let him know I had his back. The cover teacher was moving past us, cup in his hand. I could smell the coffee. Funny to remember such a thing don't you think? I mean, I wasn't trying to smell the coffee. He appeared to be heading for Ted Parrish, the cover organiser".

Statement by Mrs Rosemary Clayton, Year 10 Art teacher.

"Me and Sandi were having a quick chat. You know how it is. Monday morning and your weekend is still in your mind. Sandi is a big Peaky Blinders fan and was keen for season 3 to start. She loves Cillian Murphy. Has done ever since she saw that horror film, 28 Days After I think it's called. She was talking about how "hot" he looked in his cap. We were having a laugh, you know how it is. Just a few minutes respite before we went to class. I'd had a great weekend in Bournemouth with my husband Brian and got my phone out to show Sandi some of the photos. The cover had just said "Excuse me" to squeeze past me. Probably wouldn't even have remembered that. You know how it is though. The little things stay in your mind. I remember he was very quiet. His voice didn't really carry. He walked up to Mr Parrish, think he wanted to check what lessons he was covering. I mean, the plans they're given usually aren't that clear. Just classrooms and subjects on a photocopy."

Statement by Mr Max Rose, Physical Education trainee teacher.

"Me and Tony were having a laugh. His lad goes to the same Krav Maga club as mine. About the same age. They don't get on too well but they both love their Krav. Saturday had been a junior grading and both had passed. We were flitting between remembering that and talking about the PE lesson we had for second period. Nice day so no chance of it being indoors. I said maybe we could get the girls on rounders, boys too if they wanted it. We both knew that football would rule the roost though. Ninety percent of the boys would jump at the chance for soccer. So we were finishing up our teas and then Mr Woodcock needed a quick word with Tony so I stepped back. Give them some privacy you know? Then I saw the cover guy. He was in to cover one of our guys who was on a course plus some other classes I think. He was about to talk to Mr Parrish when Mr Jenkins came through the other door, the one near the student services corridor. That's just before it happened".

Statement by Miss Sally Camray, Head of History.

"Mr Jenkins had just come through the door at the back. I've known...sorry I knew Roger for years. Never really got on with him. Seemed a very selfish man. There were rumours of some stuff at one of his previous schools but nothing substantiated. He was part time. Couple of years off retirement. Came to Bodsworth High school after resigning from his old position at Kenilworth School in the next county. Or so I'm told. Was about 10 years before my time. I saw the cover teacher walking towards me. He smiled as I moved to let him get past me. That's when he saw Mr Jenkins. Or at least I think it was. I thought it was something I'd done at first. He just stood there, staring straight ahead. I was about to ask him what was wrong when I saw the blood literally drain from his face. He looked like he'd seen a ghost. He just kind of stood there. Mr Jenkins was behind me at that point, must have been. The cover teacher, what was his name? Anyway, he seemed to be staring not at Mr Jenkins but almost as if he was seeing something else. It was as if he was seeing into something...something that wasn't there. Then, and I'll never forget this...his face changed. One second it was just shock, no colour to his face. Then it became so angry. That's when he poured the coffee mug he was holding on the floor".

Statement by Mr Ted Parrish, Religious Education teacher and Cover Supervisor Liaison.

"I was just checking off a few notes. We only had one cover that day. Lad in his 40s, came highly recommended. I'd seen his DBS, totally clear. So I was pleased to see that he was making his way over to me. Busy times and he was taking the initiative to seek me out. Just PE and History cover that day. Nice and simple. I needed to check he'd brought his sports clothes. Sometimes they don't and I can understand the reluctance to supervise outdoor sports in a suit. So I was about to say something to him when I saw him pour his drink on the floor. I couldn't see his face clearly, he was near to Sally and Roger. Then, and this happened so fast. He smashed the mug he was holding into the side of Roger's face. The mug shattered of course. Roger went straight down. He's 68 but a big man and not as quick as he used to be. The cover teacher then moved and stood over him. Some people didn't even seem to notice what was happening. I remember I could hear a group laughing as Roger hit the floor, chatting about Game of Thrones I think. So strange what you can remember. I don't know what I had for breakfast that day but I can remember them talking about Jon Snow and some wolf dog. The cover then screamed so loudly that everyone jumped. What happened next...well, you know and that's why you're recording what I'm saying".

Statement by Polly Meynard, Year 7 trainee teacher and designated First Aider.

"Me and Toby and Neil were chatting about season 6 of Game of Thrones. Love that show. I'd waited so long for this season and Toby hadn't seen the first episode yet so we were joking about spoiling it for him. He had his hands over his ears and was quietly going "La, la, laaaa". He hates spoilers. I heard something break and I looked over to see that fat teacher, I can't remember his name. Jenkins? Yes, that was it. He hit the floor so hard. The cover teacher I'd briefly spoken to in the car park had just hit him in the face with a coffee mug. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Toby and Neil were spellbound too. Before anyone could react the cover teacher then screamed at him. I think it was "YOU FUCKING CUNT!!!" He definitely used the C word. He then reached for a glass next to him on the counter. I think the teacher who organises the covers had been drinking from it. He smashed it on the edge of the counter and three times, maybe more, he jabbed it into Mr Jenkins's face and neck. He was shouting. Most of it I couldn't understand but he said twice "HOW DOES IT FEEL?" The blood, oh my Christ the blood. It was jetting out of that poor man. The cover guy spat on him and then walked out, still holding the broken glass. I saw his face as he walked out. There were spatters of blood on it. There was maybe a few seconds of silence and then pandemonium. I remembered my First Aid training and tried to stop the blood but there was no way. Mr Jenkins was gone. His neck was in pieces, the blood he'd lost was just unreal. It was sprayed up the wall and across the posters on the counter. It was all over the floor".

Statement by Mr David Hardy, Headteacher.

"Tony came to my office, breathless. I had a parent in with me and had to excuse myself. Tony was pulling my arm, babbling about calling the police. I stood still and grabbed his shoulders then told him to calm down. After a few seconds he managed to get out that someone had gone berserk in the staff room and attacked another teacher. I sent him to reception immediately with instructions that all classes were to remain in their rooms until further notice, no exceptions. We were so lucky that it was a few minutes before 9am. We only made that rule last year. The one for being in class ten minutes before registration. I sent further instructions that no one was to be allowed in or out until I said so. Latecomers, staff, students, absolutely no one. Last thing we needed was panic in the corridors. I  walked into the staff room and could hear sobbing. The smell was horrible. Metallic mixed with the smell of shit. Mr Jenkins was on the floor, a young lady was over him, trying to give him first aid. It was too late. I asked what had happened and a shocked intern pointed to the door at the back. I moved to go through it and the same intern shouted "Be careful Sir, he's holding that glass still".
I went outside and into the car park. A parent was stuck outside reception, tapping on the glass and trying to persuade the receptionist to let him in. He didn't see me. I saw a figure by the trees at the back of the car park. Moving over to him I saw he was physically shaking, sat on the kerb near an empty parking space. As I moved to him I could see his face was spotted with blood and it was all over his right hand, up to the elbow more or less. His suit was stained with it. He was crying. I stood a safe distance away, he still had the glass but it was on the tarmac next to him. I could hear sirens in the distance. I didn't know if it was ambulance or police. I hoped it was both. The cover looked up at me. "I'm sorry" he said, still shaking. He looked like a scared child.

I didn't know what to say so I asked "What happened?" He swallowed and looked to the school gates, shaking his head slowly. "I...couldn't...I...his face, his fucking face!" That was all he said. I stayed with him until the police came and took him away".