It was the next day, and Lena was being briefed by the head of the III and IV forms, Julia Charleston.
"The girls will all be arriving between 1 and 2 pm," Julia was saying. "At 2:15 they all go to assembly, and we'll be there to make sure they do - some of the girls will be in their form-rooms, but Sarah and Nicola always cover them. Miss Ashley, as Headmistress, will be there, and the girls are expected to be completely silent from the moment they enter the Hall. Sometimes you may have to give them a quick 'Quiet!', but that's about it. Teachers have seats around the outskirts of the hall as well as on the dais - as you're new you get a dais seat today, but after that it's a game of chance, unless you happen to have to do some speaking. Today's assembly will have a whole school register, after which announcements about Prefects will be made - next year you'll be able to meet with us and discuss them, but seeing as you don't know any of the girls at this stage it's a bit pointless involving you. Keep an eye out for your form's Form Prefect, she'll be one of the first students you're familiar with. After Prefects, there will just be general announcements - keep an ear out for when Miss Ashley introduces you, because you'll want to stand up then. After announcements everyone is dismissed, and Supper is at six within each boarding house. Any questions?"
Lena had plenty of questions, but just shook her head and smiled, and a couple of hours later she found herself on the front drive, watching as the first bus load of students moved up the drive.
"Girls who take the train have to bus up here," May Doncaster, a maths mistress who Lena found herself chatting to a lot, said. "It's a bit of a way to the station, see. After this first bus load of students we get a trickle of cars - watch out for the parents, they always have about a million questions about their dear Donna or their darling Deirdre,"
The girls were now walking by the teachers, some of them chatting with a teacher of choice briefly. Noticing how many looks she was getting, Lena inwardly squirmed and put her hands behind her back. Some of them went indoors to the form-rooms, while others meandered outside, waiting for friends to appear.
The next hour was busy. A fair few buses came up to the school, but also plenty of cars. Some of the parents were just aching to tell Lena how their terrific Tina was 'special,' but most of them were more interested in saying goodbye to their kids than in the teachers. Some of the girls took an interest in Lena too, asking her questions about what she taught and so on, which Lena took a joy in answering. There were plenty of shrieks and shouts too, of newcomers and to newcomers. All of the I form were sent off to a point where their Form Mistresses were, and any other new girls arriving by car, Lena was glad to see, were quite quickly taken under the wings of the students.
By the time 2:15 came the drive was packed with gossiping students. "Time to herd the sheep in," May said to Lena.
The mistresses moved to get the girls into the building and the hall. Some of the girls needed a reminder to be quiet at this stage; the result of seven weeks of not having to obey school rules. Lena took her seat on the dais, and May managed to sneak in a seat beside her. On Lena's other side was a man with greying hair. He grunted as Lena sat down next to him, prompting May to mutter "Don't mind him" so that he wouldn't hear.
"Good afternoon girls," Miss Ashley said, as the last of the girls took her seat in the back of the hall. "I trust you've all had a pleasant journey, and you're all ready after that holiday to return to the fold of work once again,"
Miss Ashley said a few more words before one of the secretaries passed a list to Miss Ashley, and she started taking a register. Lena kept a keen eye out for who answered to what name.
"April Bennett," called out Miss Ashley. No-one responded. "April Bennett?" she asked.
Nobody responded to that name. Miss Ashley gave it a short while, before going onto Clara Benson, apparently unconcerned. The rest of the register went smoothly, and the list of names was passed back to the secretary, who left the stage. The Deputy Head followed the secretary out of the hall.
Miss Ashley moved onto the Prefects. The main Prefect body consisted of nine Upper VI girls, with a Head Girl, Deputy Head Girl, Sports Prefect, and six other Prefects, all of whom had badges. In addition, each house had a team of four House Prefects from the VIth, and each team had a Head of House. The Dormitory Prefects were girls from every year group who would otherwise be sleeping in the dormitories they were Prefects of. And, of course, Form Prefects were mainly well-behaved girls in each form. Lena noted that her form's Form Prefect was Clarissa Vanes, a curly ginger girl with heaps of freckles and a big smile.
The other announcements started out with some generic news items about old girls, the school magazine, and suchlike. Lena felt herself becoming more and more nervous with each notice.
"And finally, I'm sure many of you will have noticed that we have a new staff member with us today," Miss Ashley said. She then signalled to Lena to come up to the front of the dais, which Lena did.
"This is Miss Maynard," Miss Ashley said. "And she will be taking Languages from now on," she turned to Lena. "We hope you enjoy your time teaching here at Askell School," she said, before turning back to the girls. "Let's give Miss Maynard a warm welcome,"
The girls applauded the new mistress, who could feel herself going violently red. She felt quite relieved when everyone was dismissed.
Author's Chapter Notes:
I'm betting you all want more, then. :D