WITH the New Year approaching, the Headmaster has sent us this special seasonal communication:
I am writing this, sitting at the desk in my study, overlooking the playing fields. The grass is cloaked in a glistening carapace of frost: one instinctively thinks of ‘better times’, when the exuberant shouts of rugby players would fill the air – a bitter-sweet memory.
At this time of year, thoughts quite naturally turn to renewal, as we ‘ring in the new’, whether by the linking of arms or perhaps taking ‘a cup o’ kindness yet’.
I reach, bidden by an invisible hand, for a collection of Rupert Brooke’s poetry. The volume falls to the floor and when I pick it up, somewhat serendipitously it is open on The Old Vicarage, Grantchester. I know this by heart; of course, however, the opening lines never fails to stir me.
Just now the lilac is in bloom,
All before my little room;
And in my flower-beds, I think,
Smile the carnation and the pink . . .
It is an evocative poem, redolent of a land we once knew, a land that some still have a regrettable, yet unrequited attachment to and yearning for. These sentiments are still espoused by a few of our somewhat ‘fuddy-duddy’ parents. I like to think, however, that as a school, we have moved on from this mirage – markedly for the better. Our core values of tolerance, inclusivity and diversity are the foundations we will build on going forward. Here at The BoJo Academy, we are rightly focused on turning out tomorrow’s citizens, citizens well equipped to take their place in a welcoming society, a society happily at ease with itself.
To ‘ring in the new’ I have requested that at Chapel each morning we dispense with the singing of the outdated and frankly jingoistic I Vow to Thee My Country. This was chosen many years ago by a previous Headmaster, Mr Macmillan, but now its quasi-religious lyrics could cause offence to some staff and pupils alike.
Head of Music, Mr Duncan Smith, suggested that the Manic Street Preachers’ 1998 song If you tolerate this your children will be next would be a suitable replacement, but after some heated debate, Head of Health & Well-Being, Mr Javid, carried the day with his inspired alternative. Going forward, we will now sing Joe Dolce’s 80s hit Shaddap you face at morning assembly.
Another well-received announcement has been the Governors’ decision to re-introduce the ‘Clap for Matron’ (NB: Hancock Jr, please refrain from making one of your asinine, obvious and unfunny jokes).
Matron has been a tireless pillar of strength over the last year, and our heartfelt thanks and recognition are long overdue. Currently, she is enjoying a well-earned break at her recently purchased villa in Spain, but will be continuing her well-established ‘zoom’ consultations. I suggest that on one of these appointed ‘diagnoses’ we all bang our desk lids in unison. This is an order – just to clarify!
I have heard rumours that all is not well with our partner school in France run by Monsieur Macron and that our celebrated Entente is perhaps a trifle less Cordiale.
‘Absolute piffle and poppycock’ is all I can say to these unfounded slurs. Why, only last week I sent Monsieur Macron a hand-picked hamper showcasing the very best of English confectionery. He will, I am sure, delight in Mandelson’s Acid Drops, Blair’s Humbugs, Rayner’s Sweet Tobacco and Cameron’s Chocolate Money.
By return, and underscoring the strength of our relationship, I received by ‘special delivery’ a plastic Eiffel Tower (sadly broken) with a handwritten note which read:
Va te faire foutre,
I think that confirms the great respect in which he holds both me personally and my position as Headmaster.
Finally, as the clock ticks down to 2022, I would ask that pupils, parents and staff familiarise themselves with the final verse of our new school hymn . . .
What’s-a matter you? Hey! Gotta no respect Hey!
What-a you t’ink you do? Hey! Why you look-a so sad? Hey!
It’s-a not so bad. Hey! It’s-a nice-a place
Ah shaddap-a you face!
Happy New Year!