IN 1978 David Essex memorably sang Oh what a circus, oh what a show and that is exactly what greeted guests at the BoJo Academy’s Coronation celebrations held on the playing fields on Saturday.
For many, the Coronation was a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, and it was with this in mind that the Headmaster, in an act of educational goodwill, extended invitations to neighbouring schools Rayner’s Lane Comprehensive and Ashdown High to take part.
On the day, celebrations admittedly got off to a shaky start with the news that the first-aid tent manned by the local GP Dr Laurenson would be unavailable due to his being on strike. This last-minute dereliction of duty thankfully did little to dampen the enthusiasm of revellers.
Sunny weather prevailed enabling pupils, parents, teachers and governors to take in a variety of attractions provided by all three schools. Particularly well attended was Ashdown High’s ‘House fit for a King’ exhibit, erected next to the pavilion. With the emphasis on saving the planet, construction was from an inexpensive mixture of cow dung and straw, with bamboo windows and doors. Visitors marvelled at the high-end finishes, including floor coverings made from pinecones and wall fabrics woven from recycled plastic – the future most definitely is green!
Mr Starmer of Rayner’s Lane requested space for three tents be made available on the day. The beer tent hosted a steady stream of thirsty individuals, while guests fortunate to be admitted to his VIP tent were treated to several delicacies such as foie gras, pistachio sables, and gruyere and parmesan allumettes, with chilled champagne provided free by the European Schools Alliance and served by the school’s elegant art teacher Ms Thornberry. But without doubt it was their ‘Transform Tent’ whichgenerated the most interest on the day. Younger boys queued patiently to be dressed as girls complete with make-up and wigs whilst some fathers entered the spirit of the day by donning high heels and miniskirts. Everyone agreed that self-identification is very much the way forward!
For hungry attendees there was a veritable smorgasbord of tasty treats on offer to satisfy the fussiest of eaters. Carbon neutral snacks such as turnip on a stick, carrot batons and swede slices went like ‘hot cakes’ – special thanks to the Academy’s domestic science cadre under the watchful gaze of Ms Braverman for producing such wholesome fare.
More adventurous diners made a bee line for the educational ‘Foods of the World’tent, where industrious volunteer and benefactor Mr Gates served up a mouthwatering selection of wasps, grasshoppers, ants, worms and beetles. The most popular snack was undoubtedly the ‘Light Lunch Crunch’@ £1.99 – a deep-fried cockroach served in a rice-paper wrap – yummy!
Away from the hustle and bustle, former statistics teacher Mr Ferguson (or ‘Nutty Neil’ as the boys somewhat mischievously call him) was doing a brisk trade in his fortune-telling gazebo while ex- geography teacher Mr Raab gave a well-received talk on the theme ‘Assertive Management Techniques’.
The main marquee was where Mr Sunak gave an address to local dignitaries prior to the day’s finale. Recalling his own accession to the role of Headmaster, he moved the audience to tears as he revealed the hardships and privations he had faced as a young teacher and how, despite his wife’s successful IT repair business, he still struggles to get by on his meagre stipend.
Summarising what he thought were the most important aspects of the day, he said: ‘Moving on, levelling up, fairness, equality, a fresh start, opportunities for all, where we stand, vote for change, are you thinking what we’re thinking, strong leadership, a clear economic plan, a brighter more secure future, strong and stable, unleash the potential, stop the boats, maths for all, it’s the right thing to do, diversity, hold me to account, financial security, halve inflation, better paid jobs, cut the sanatorium waiting lists and a fairer society for all. We will have achieved them or not, God save the King.’
As the audience rose in appreciation the lights were dimmed, the glitter ball rotated and the School’s Orchestra took to the stage and kicked off an evening of dancing to a medley of favourite songs, including a terrific interpretation of Guy Lombardo’s On a Slow Boat to China, Eminem’s Love the Way You Lie and a delightful take on Marina and the Diamonds’ classic song Power & Control.
As midnight approached, guests started to make their way home, so the majority were spared witnessing a grotesque and upsetting spectacle. Clearly worse for wear, ex-headmaster Mr Johnson lurched unsteadily on to the stage. Sporting a Union Jack waistcoat and with his waistband loosened, he tried to sing Land of Hope and Glory whilst playing the spoons.
As luck would have it Mr Raab was passing by and quickly executed a deft Yoko Geri karate kick to Mr Johnson’s thigh which rendered him unable to continue.
The Governors and Headmaster would like to thank the many individuals whose tireless efforts made the day possible.
Strike term will start as normal.