The return of pupils to school this week has thrown up many challenges for teachers and students alike. Here is a front-line report on the first five days from the head teacher of the Boris Johnson Academy (Specialist School in Latin Tags) in south London.
MANY of the staff expressed concern about the re-opening of the school but with those issues now fully addressed we were delighted to welcome students back on Monday.
The first change they noticed was the inclusive Lateral Flow Test, which now forms part of the daily routine. It has received both positive and negative feedback but looks set to be a regular fixture for some time yet.
Pupils have broadly welcomed some new initiatives at morning assembly. Particular enthusiasm has been shown for ‘taking the knee’ and the inclusive ‘pulling down’ of the Founder’s statue. Less popular was the re-introduction of the school song ‘We’re all going on a summer holiday’ – although it must be noted this was sung with gusto by the teaching staff.
I am sorry to say that Mr Morgan, Head of Media Studies, has agreed to stand down from his post. This follows a recent PTA meeting where he expressed some regrettably intemperate opinions concerning one of the school’s more important and titled former pupils and his lady wife.
On a happier note I am delighted to report that Ms Patel, our popular and able supply teacher, has joined the full-time staff. Aside from handling domestic science, she has very kindly undertaken a review into school security and has already identified some unwanted incursions on to our playing fields from the neighbouring Lycée Français. During one recent intrusion the ‘eat out to help out’ tuck shop was raided and unsuitable graffiti was scrawled on the walls, referencing lack of culturally suitable bon-bons and chocolat. Ms Patel has volubly expressed her outrage at this and plans a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy. Watch this space – bien joué, Ms Patel! Meanwhile the Bursar has reached a provisional agreement with the Lycée whereby we will make a financial contribution to enable their dilapidated border fence to be re-built.
Our well-established exchange of academic staff with the Sage Academy has borne fruit. Mr Whitty, who arrived here a year ago, has made a major contribution to the curriculum and proved to be an extremely popular staff member. Noted for his cheery and exuberant disposition, he has enlivened lessons immeasurably – a veritable case of Whitty by name, witty by nature! His practical demonstrations of scientific statistics have been particularly well received. Sadly, his time to return to his alma mater is almost upon us so we say ‘three cheers’ Mr Whitty, or ‘Old Masky’ as the pupils affectionately know him.
The recently upgraded Sanatorium has had to be closed. This will come as something of a surprise after the school only recently completed a hugely successful fund-raising appeal to which many pupils (current and former) contributed generously. However, Matron informs us that the anticipated influx of pupils suffering from flu never materialised and with hindsight it was perhaps a foreseeable result.
However on the bright side the Sanatorium will, in the near future, be converted to a ‘Climate Change Hub’ where pupils can study the myriad benefits that going ‘carbon neutral’ will bestow. We are currently working on an ‘twinning’ programme with the ‘Cloud Cuckoo Academy’ which we hope will allow an informative exchange of views and exciting policy initiatives.
Finally, we have taken the opportunity to update the school motto. The rather male-centric and outdated Gloria Filiorum Patres, which as we all know means‘The glory of sons is their fathers’, will be replaced by the more appropriate ‘Hands, Face, Slap’. This, we feel, reflects both our commitment to safeguarding and at the same time recognises our more authoritarian approach to pupil discipline. Onwards and upwards!