WE would like to take this opportunity to wish pupils, parents and all school staff a very happy new year. We hope that 2024 will be a turning point, and that the fortunes of the Academy will soon be on an upward trajectory.
While outwardly the Academy seems to have enjoyed a quiet start to term, a number of internal issues have been taxing the Headmaster.
For decades, the internal mail for term boarders and staff has been competently handled by our own in-house post office. Staffed by volunteers, this invaluable service has broadened its offering over the years to include looking after pupils’ pocket money and affiliated items. At the end of each day the ‘post master’ in charge would balance the books, as they termed it.
To make this onerous daily task slightly simpler, Ms Vennells – at the time the deputy school Chaplain and acknowledged IT expert – purchased some state-of-the-art accountancy software from the renowned supplier Glitches & Bugs.
The system, which went by the proprietary name Postie Prison, seemed a perfect choice, simple to use with a touchscreen interface and requiring minimal training. It looked, on paper, to be the perfect solution – with the added benefit of being cheap.
What a pity, therefore, that it has recently come to light that the software was somehow faulty and not fit for purpose. A number of people were falsely accused of ‘stealing’, some staff were subsequently disciplined and a few even found themselves under police investigation.
The Academy now recognises that these maligned staff were totally innocent and that the blame lay fairly and squarely with Ms Vennells, who we now are happy to acknowledge was a total incompetent and someone who should never have been awarded the prestigious School Service Medal.
It has also recently come to light that Mr Davey, who was seconded to the school as Head of Paperclips, Staples and Envelopes, had been alerted on numerous occasions to the computer program as being the sole source of the financial problem.
What a pity that he chose to ignore both written and verbal approaches concerning this wholly avoidable crisis, preferring to occupy his working hours with assisting in removing the Bunsen burners.
As with Ms Vennells, we hold up our hands and admit that Mr Davey was totally unsuited to make any decisions whatsoever and that any educational establishment thinking of employing him in the future would do well by taking references to assess his suitability.
Parents will remember the huge strain that was placed on Matron two years ago when she had her hands full dealing with many boys exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Single-handedly, she exhibited a focused determination to do the right thing. In her endeavours she was fortunate in being inundated with offers of help from several individuals with close connections to the school.
One such offer came Miss Mone (or Miss Phwoar! as some sixth-form boys call her), proprietress of All Things Lace in the High Street. She kindly offered to supply Matron with some protective garments ‘at cost’. This extraordinary act of generosity was truly astounding – impacting negatively, as it inevitably would, on her emporium’s bottom line.
The Bursar made available the requisite £200million allowing the Sanatorium to ride out the storm and look after the pupils’ health. It is true that we now have something of a surplus of latex gloves (mainly two-fingered) which we are happy to make available to other educational establishments within the Borough. They are available in three sizes, Large, XL and Soames. Would interested parties please contact the Headmaster directly.
It was with huge regret that the Headmaster had to accept the sudden and unexpected resignation of Mr Skidmore last week. One of the Academy’s most high-profile and capable teachers, he came to epitomise all that is good about the teaching profession. Dedicated and principled, he will largely be remembered for his decision to ban the use of Bunsen burners on school premises.
Regrettably he leaves the fifth-form boys in the middle of their exam preparations. However, it is heartening to know that his departure will not be a total loss to the world of academia. He will shortly be taking up a new and no doubt challenging role as Professor of Practice at the University of Bath.
We wish him well for the future and thank him for the invaluable contribution he made whilst serving the Academy. Would boys please refrain from asinine comments about Mr Skidmore having Net Zero qualifications to be a professor. It is unfunny, immature and uncalled for.
Lastly, we hope to have the Academy’s flood defences in place by the end of 2032. We regret the inconvenience caused recently to boarders in Pond House and hope to have it dry and habitable again shortly.