Monday, July 22, 2024
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Farewell, Headmaster


PARENTS and pupils at the BoJo Academy were shocked to learn yesterday of the Headmaster’s sudden resignation. Many are asking the question, why?

Having successfully steered the school through a raft of challenges, most notably orchestrating the Academy’s separation from the European Schools Union, and magnificently handling the flu outbreak some terms back, it looked as though he would go on to better Mr Major’s admired length of tenure at the helm.

What a tragedy, therefore, that the Headmaster was undone by a single and simple appointment, undertaken with the best intentions.

On paper, Dr Shipman looked to be the ideal candidate to take on day-to-day responsibility for medical matters. Regrettably and with hindsight, a more thorough background check would have been advisable, and perhaps would have shed light on some rather murky historical matters. That was not done, and the inadvisability of this omission has well and truly come home to roost.

What a pity that neither the Governors nor senior staff felt able to give the Headmaster the benefit of the doubt, preferring to rake up all sorts of past grievances and use these as a stick to beat him with.

 More depressing was the eagerness of some very junior teaching staff to ‘pile in’ and heap further agonies on to a good man. Yes, we are thinking of you, Mr Quince, Ms Pow, Mr Freer and Ms Crosbie among many others.

Sad to say, the usual camaraderie between Headteachers was also absent, with Mr Starmer, who runs Rayner’s Lane Comprehensive, happy to fling ill-disguised invective in the Headmaster’s direction.

The Academy has a long and proud tradition of legacies dating back many years. The legacies of former Headteachers Mrs May and Mr Cameron are on display in the science block, where they can best be viewed under the x 500 magnification microscope.

It is too soon properly to evaluate the Headmaster’s legacy; suffice it to say that his unwavering commitment to ‘the green agenda’, creating price increases in the tuck shop and supplying military aid to the Kiev Boys’ School all stand out. It is likely that he will best be remembered for the huge growth in overseas boarders that has transformed the fabric of the school.

Attention will quite naturally turn to who will be able to fill the very big shoes left in his study, and already staff are talking themselves up as potential candidates. Head of Economics and Man of the people Mr Sunak has thrown his hat in the ring and other names touted in the playground include Head of Health and Wellness Mr Javid and Head of Geography Ms Truss.

It will make for an interesting and exciting contest with such a dazzling array of talent to choose from. What we can confidently assure parents of is that there will be no major deviation from the established curriculum with which the pupils are more than familiar.

In the drama of the moment, it would be all too easy to overlook the contribution of Mrs Headmaster, who threw herself wholeheartedly into activities, most recently striving tirelessly to eliminate any vestiges of toxic masculinity that lurked unchecked around the buildings. Though senior boys became flustered in her presence, junior boys felt safe in her maternalistic care.

Most memorably, she transformed the quarters that came with her husband’s position, and will no doubt bring the same parsimony and eye for detail to their new home, wherever that might be, and we wish her well going forward. She will be sadly missed.

A date for a farewell party has yet to be confirmed, and the Headmaster has indicated that he would be happy to ‘stay on’ in a caretaker role should that be required.

A collection will shortly be organised to express our gratitude, and we politely request that staff, pupils and parents donate generously. There are a number of gifts the Headmaster has indicated would find favour as a parting reward, and given his love of books it is no surprise that these include:

First Edition of Osborne’s Guide to Non-Executive Directorships (out of print);

Signed copy of Greta Thunberg’s No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference;

Decorating on a Shoestring (You Can Create a Beautiful Home Without Spending a Fortune) by Gwen Ellis;

Poison and Poisoning by Celia Kellett.

From everyone, we wish Mr Headmaster Vale et optima fortuna.

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Alexander McKibbin
Alexander McKibbin
Alexander McKibbin is a retired media executive who worked across domestic and international media.

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