THE Governors’ serendipitous appointment of Mr Sunak to the post of Headmaster almost a year ago has largely been vindicated. His talent, knowledge and especially his ability to follow instructions have gone a long way to securing respect among both teaching staff and pupils. It is therefore somewhat surprising that he has lately taken it upon himself to try to change the curriculum – something that he must know he has no authority to do.
For many years the Academy has actively encouraged engagement with several overseas educational establishments; these trips have been useful opportunities for a fruitful exchange of dialogue and ideas.
It was on one such recent visit that the Headmaster would appear to have ‘gone native’, if one can still use such an outmoded and offensive term. Touring the New Delhi High School, Mr Sunak was shown the intricate workings of its heating system. According to reports he was impressed by the sizeable Mountbatten Colossus gas boiler manufactured by the local firm Nehru Industries. This piece of equipment – some 40 years old – is still relied upon day in, day out.
Instead of pointing out the self-evident ludicrousness of using such outmoded, inefficient and unreliable equipment, Mr Sunak was overheard appreciatively agreeing it was ‘a good way to heat a building’. Such utterances are not in keeping with the values of the Academy, and we charitably assumed he was merely being polite and not wishing to upset his hosts.
Regrettably, another lapse of judgment was evidenced a few days later when, as a guest of the Beijing Academy, he was given a guided tour of its premises by popular principal Mr Xi. Mr Sunak uncharacteristically posed several questions concerning the heating and lighting equipment. Beaming from ear to ear, Mr Xi escorted the Headmaster to a variety of outbuildings where he proudly explained that the school was self-sufficient in energy.
Mr Sunak was keen to learn more, as we are indeed ourselves, about securing energy security for the future while ensuring we achieve Net Zero, our number one priority.
After admiring the on-site coal, natural and shale gas mining enterprises staffed largely by pupils on detention, Mr Sunak was also interested to learn more about the school’s other enterprises, notably extraction of iron ore, nickel, chromium and cobalt.
What a pity that a golden opportunity to lecture Mr Xi on the planet-destroying nature of their activities was thrown away, Mr Sunak choosing instead to talk windily about an exchange pupil copying our Head Boy’s homework.
On his return to the Academy, parents were unsettled to hear the Headmaster talk about starting up the old Churchill Howitzer Max gas boilers which were decommissioned some years ago in favour of the altogether more modern Thunberg Unicorn Mk IV heat pumps – a firm favourite with boarders who enjoy nothing better than scraping the ice off the windows.
As if this disquieting suggestion was not bad enough, the Headmaster then followed it up with two further alarming proposals. First, to axe the well-costed and affordable extension to the school’s miniature railway and secondly to use the area of the ornamental garden called Rosebank as a possible base to drill for oil.
At going to press Mr Sunak will be spending some time in the Sanatorium, where he can recover and compose himself. It would be a great pity if whatever he is suffering from made him unsuitable to take the school forward in its quest to be Net Zero once and for all.
PS: The barge Bibby Stockholm moored on the school lake is still sadly unsuitable to house overseas students. The fire assessment and risk of Legionnaires’ disease make it impractical. We apologise unreservedly to parents who generously contributed to the fundraiser which enabled the purchase and refurbishment of this lovely vessel. We plan to scuttle it shortly.