Heroes and Heroines
Posted: 21st January 2015 | Category: Headmasters's Blog
Heroes and Heroines
Since the news of my retirement went viral last week, I have been inundated by kind sentiments and notes of appreciation past and present which brought me to thinking about a headmaster’s relationship to his school, which became quite a humbling experience!
A school is based on its ethos – its guiding beliefs and ideals that were laid down by the founders, the Ward family in close association with Harry Bucknell, and these pioneers developed and introduced a much softer post-war educational ideology that contrasted with the harshness of the grim realities of Britain in 1945. Skippers was from the outset committed to providing all the pupils with a stimulating and supportive learning environment which celebrated each unique character and their capabilities, allowed them to be themselves and enabled them to achieve to the best of their ability. From its naissance, Skippers has cherished the individual and in its 70 years of existence, this core value has remained unchanged! It is a family with the ethos beating at its heart.
Does a Head impact on the success of a school? Undoubtedly! Is that success achieved in isolation? Assuredly not! Behind the scenes, the unsung heroines and heroes beaver away supporting the headmaster and his staff, guiding them and often coping or covering for their ineptitudes!
In my case, my mentor and advisor has been Fiona – a rock in an educational maelstrom! She has worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of the ship whilst the Captain swaggered around with the bosuns and the rest of the Skippers crew. Organised, patient and kind, Fiona manages the office, the fixtures, the domestic staff, the peripatetic teachers, admissions, the census, you-name-it-she-does-it …but best of all she supports me!
Of course the teachers, Angela Alsop and Kate Alexander in particular, are vital to promoting the ethos of the school and they have always had my gratitude; however, it is to those that keep their heads below the parapet that this blog is aimed.
Consider Kim and Caroline in the Office: loyal, industrious and ebullient! Without them the Skippers engine would soon grind to a halt! Mention also, of course, of Frances and her stirling work on behalf of our marketing department!
Contemplate life without our qualified Head Chef, Wendy, and her assistant, Emma: without that supply of tasty, home-made, locally supplied fresh food, the engine of Skippers would soon run out of fuel.
Reflect on the state of the galley and the crew without the unstinting service of those stalwarts – Michelle, Sylvia, Gaynor, Janet, Emily and Natalie - who provide TLC and service to all throughout the day. And it is hard to imagine what the decks would look like without the skilful swabbing ministrations of Ruth, Clare and Sarah every evening.
Let us not forget Gary, who is always smiling and happy to stem the leaks, mend the planks and, generally, keep everything shipshape and Bristol fashion!
My eternal thanks to you, the unsung heroes and heroines, past and present, who have helped make Skippers the vibrant school it is today.