AS the calendar page is turned to December, it is a time for me to reflect on the highs and lows of the academic year.
Looking out from my study window at the dustbowl that used to be home to the First XI cricket team, I am painfully reminded just how fragile our land is, and the consequences that failing to reach Net Zero will have, not just on the school but on the wider community. Therefore I am delighted to announce that we at the BoJo Academy will be re-doubling our efforts to go Net Zero by the end of next year. I know only too well that there will be those who say this is impossible and will result in great hardship, both financially and personally for pupils.
When confronted with criticism like this, I am reminded of the forthright attitude of former teacher Mr Javid, and I ask myself how he would react under the circumstances. That is why I make no apologies for saying ‘So what?’
On a brighter note, I would like to say a very big thank you to all the parents who took the time and trouble to write in thanking me for steadying the ship. It is heartening to know that my efforts are appreciated.
There is no denying that is has been a year of mixed fortunes. I am still hopeful that our long-planned exchange programme with the Kigali High School will go ahead. We have encountered some unexpected issues after announcing this exciting initiative, but I am assured by the Governors that this will be up and running shortly.
Bapakira ibyawe! That’s Kinyarwanda for ‘pack your bags’!
Staff turnover is, and I suggest will continue to be, a problem going forward. We strive to employ the very best teachers that we can whatever the cost, and that is reflected in the calibre of individuals such as Mr Shapps, Mr Cleverly and long-standing staff member Mr Gove. These, along with many others, bring a unique and valuable je ne sais quoi to school proceedings.
I can assure parents that we will continue with our policy of hiring people who really are at the top of their game. That is why it was an absolute thrill to welcome back ex-Headmaster Cameron, who will be taking a sixth-form module on foreign affairs and diplomacy. He is joined in the staff room by Ms McVey, who has kindly agreed to take charge of the Academy’s policy on common sense.
At first glance her appointment might seem superficial and possibly a sop to tokenism but, let me be clear, nothing could be farther from the truth. Common sense has been sadly lacking in some quarters and Ms McVey will bring a breath of fresh air to this important subject. I would ask you all to make her welcome to the top team.
On a more contentious note, many expressed sadness that I had to let go our popular domestic science teacher Ms Braverman. It was a difficult decision to make, but it was the right one. The school thrives on harmony and having someone working so tirelessly to undermine the very pillars that underpin our values could no longer be tolerated. Her unapproved and inflammatory articles in the school magazine, along with her continual carping about our expanded overseas student cadre, was extremely unbecoming. Her ungracious letter of resignation spoke volumes about her fragile mental health. Farewell and please do not keep in touch.
What do the following have in common? Mr Useless, Mr Inept, Fatso and Mr Green. No, they are not characters from a Tarantino movie but are affectionate nicknames given to some staff by pupils. These monikers have a long tradition in schools such as the BoJo Academy, although it sometimes it is tricky to discern what they are based on! What this underscores is the popularity of the individual and signifies acceptance into our community. It was with some delight that I learned that Mr Cameron was quickly bestowed with the sobriquet Lord Snooty! I hear on the grapevine that even the Bursar has been accorded this accolade and is known to one and all as the Manchurian Candidate, whilst yours truly is apparently referred to as Jeff Tracy. Quite how the boys made a link between my position and that of a fictional puppet is unfathomable, but I quite like it.
Next year will be an exciting one at the Academy. Wishing all parents, pupils and staff a very happy Winterval!