Saturday, December 4, 2021
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Panto time at the BoJo Academy

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HECTIC, frantic and just a little bit chaotic – that’s the only way to describe the Headmaster’s last few weeks at the BoJo Academy. How he has managed to cope is testament to his diligence, creativity, perseverance and amazing capacity for hard work.

There has been some regrettable carping from the sidelines concerning the Headmaster’s decision to hold the 26th Global Schools’ Pantomime in Scotland rather than use our well-equipped media and conference centre located behind the quadrangle.

Each pantomime has had a specific ‘environmental’ theme and this year the Headmaster has grasped the baton with both hands to produce a genuine spectacular which will emphasise the need for ‘Carbon Release Aiming Zero Yearly’, or CRAZY as it has been christened by some of the teachers.

In the past the BoJo Academy has merely been a guest at the Kyoto and Paris performances, and previous headmasters were awestruck by players being garlanded with platitudes as the final curtain fell and the concomitant outpouring of humbug. Now it is our turn to show other school heads just how well we do things here and, make no mistake, we intend to go overboard. Rehearsals have gone extremely well, and we are on the way to producing a monumental ‘showstopper’.

I caught up with the Headmaster in his study and asked what his ‘green’ inspiration was.

‘Quite simply this, when Carrie and I married we had our first dance to the magnificent song Land of Make Believe by Bucks Fizz and it left a deep impression on the two of us. Who can forget the magnificent lyrics?’

He sang softly:

Stars in your eyes little one

Where do you go to dream?

To a place we all know

The land of make believe

He was visibly moved. Changing the tone, he remarked how the staff have all got ‘on side’ in the panto spirit.

‘Only yesterday we had a run through, each time Mr Sunak the economics teacher came on stage to shift scenery, the staff all shouted “behind you!”’ – he laughed at the memory.

The Headmaster, playing ‘Principal Boy’, has sourced a well-padded hair shirt, some thigh length boots and has been spotted practising his thigh slap on staff members.

Mrs Headmaster has once again been busy with costumes and casting, but sadly two of the other leading roles have had to be re-cast at short notice.

Genial Mr Putin from the Nord Stream 2 Academy of Saint Petersburg, who was due to play the rear end of the magic unicorn, had to cry off at the last minute, citing overdue library books that urgently needed returning.

Similarly, Mr Xi Jinping from the Chinese State Institute in Beijing cannot take part and has notified the headmaster that he is ‘top coating’ his garden picket fence. This is particularly unfortunate because he was perfectly cast to play ‘Greta’, the mythical fire breathing dragon.

The Headmaster tells me that his plan to shower the audience with acid rain via the sprinkler system at the final curtain call has had to be shelved due to technical issues. Despite these setbacks he assures me that ‘cometh the hour cometh the man’, and we can rely on him to ‘bring the house down’.

Not literally, we hope!

Keeping healthy

Matron’s ‘through the window’ consultations have proved extremely popular with pupils and staff alike. Not seeing anyone ‘face to face’ has freed an enormous amount of time that she has been able to give over to improving the general well-being of pupils.

The bad-tempered rugby match between year 5’s first and second teams that resulted in a broken wrist for Anderson Jr provoked some uncalled-for comments on the school’s intranet.

These anonymous and offensive posts related in the main to Matron’s refusal to attend the scene and her adamant instruction that the games master send her a picture first. Fortunately, Mr Huddleston is a keen amateur photographer and was quickly able to supply a 4k hi-res image augmented with gaussian blur and burnt edge vignetting.

From this, Matron was smartly able to diagnose what was wrong and suggest that Anderson Jr be taken immediately to A&E – all without having to unlock the sanatorium door, proof positive of the successful new way of working.

 However, the anonymous thread calling Matron lazy and unprincipled from a keyboard warrior identifying as ‘one-handed wonder’ was quickly identified by our IT guru Mr Francois as emanating from Andersen Jr’s parents.

 Mr Francois comments:

‘The school encourages healthy online debate and is happy to address issues of concern. What we will not tolerate is people criticising the school, teachers or governors whilst shielding behind a cloak of anonymity. In this instance by using the simple moniker “one-handed wonder” it was easy to pinpoint those responsible. I would also like to point out that “one-handed wonder” has led to their son being the butt of some rather ribald comments from the older boys.’

As the CRAZY pantomime gets nearer, we can expect a lot more attention for the school from the world’s assembled media. It is imperative that staff and pupils are on their best behaviour.

Misbehaviour or dissent will not be tolerated.

Monitus es. 

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

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