Ladies and gentlemen, friends of the school, may I welcome you all to our speech day. It has been a momentous time for our establishment and at this time it falls to me as headmaster to deliver an address detailing the events of the year.
Before I begin, may I offer up my sincere thanks to the chairman of the school governors, the esteemed Mr Giles Clarke for his hard work over the year. I know he has received much criticism over the last couple of terms, but his dedication to our wonderful place of learning is second to none. And if for us to thrive it requires all thirty six other schools in the county to be closed down, then I for one applaud him for placing the right kind of family at the heart of his efforts. I have no doubt that those children now unable to attend a school merely need to increase their efforts, and they too will have the opportunity to join our caring, kind community. Mr Clarke remains the personification of our school motto, “Sutores in ceteris omnibus”.
I also need to thank our chairman of the Parent/Teacher Association, Mr Andrew Strauss. Many of you know him well of course, as he is a former pupil and head boy of this school, and it is our privilege that he has chosen to devote his time to bringing through the next generation. As we know, he did have a challenging start to his tenure, as that appalling child, young Kevin Pietersen, appealed against his exclusion from school grounds. I want to make something very clear here. Just because young Pietersen went on Dragon’s Den, won backing from those awful business types, made a fortune and offered to pay his and everyone else’s school fees doesn’t mean we have to accept that kind of person here. This is not that type of school. From what I understand, he’s doing very well in comprehensives around the world.
Our head boy, young Master Cook, sat behind me, has had a wonderful year. Personally I don’t believe good grades are essential in a head boy, and he has been unfailingly polite throughout the term. One must observe that he is an example to everyone, and I find it a tribute to his conduct and dedication that he has turned down a place at polytechnic in order to remain with us throughout his twenties.
Our pupils are what we exist for. And I would like to pay tribute to those of them who have made our alma mater what it is today. Master Root is a shining light in our midst, having achieved AAAAAAAAAAAAAA* grades in his exams, allowing us to escape the Ofsted Inspectors for another year. I firmly believe he is head boy material for the future and…..are you alright Alastair? Sorry, as I was saying head boy material for the future. It is even more impressive when one considers that young Root arrived on a scholarship from a poor estate to the north of the school. We shall of course endeavour to teach him to speak English over the course of his time with us, beginning with teaching him to count how many “o’s” there are in his name.
If only the same could be said for some others who came from the same location. Master Lyth arrived with such high grades from junior school, but has yet to match up to our expectations. I must express a concern that Master Rashid keeps attempting to break into school grounds. We have been very clear on this, pupils are only to be permitted to enter when we decide and not when they do. His parents and family seem to believe that simply because there is a place in class for his very specific skills that warrants him joining. This is not and never has been the case. We do fully appreciate how he has run the tuck shop over the last year, and I know that the school pupils have become very used to seeing him peeping round the door, but he must earn his place, particularly on school trips where the tuck shop has been a credit to the school throughout.
If only all our pupils were to show the same dedication. I regret to inform you all that Master Ballance has been suspended with immediate effect. It is critical to understand that pupils are here to learn, and I’m afraid on one too many occasions he claimed that his homework had been consumed by the family pet. He is of course, welcome to return when he shows that he is able to master declensions and deliver timely assignments.
I must also appeal at this point to the hall if anyone has seen Master Anderson. His early term grades were outstanding, but he provided a note from his mother that he had a doctor’s appointment, and no one has seen him since. He is a credit to the school and we would be grateful if we could be advised of his whereabouts.
Now, Master Stokes. I have told you before, setting fire to the science lab is not allowed, and nor is shouting at other pupils. I do applaud your restraint when Master Samuels teased you, but let that be a lesson to you. This is against school rules and I am watching you closely. If it was you who brought that girl into school last month, that too is against the rules. You may excel in both PE and Maths but that does not give you the right to ignore regulations. And I have replaced the lockers in the gym, and I don’t want to have to do it again.
Master Moeen has shown promise throughout the year, and I have very much appreciated the way he has brought me my mid morning tea and toast. Indeed the way he has anticipated my requirements is most impressive. Even when I have asked him to move desks (sometimes several times a day) he has done so with a smile. And he has such beautiful handwriting, even if there are a few too many spelling mistakes at times.
Another boy who has performed well this year is Master Broad. I must confess to slight surprise about this, as his father, also a pupil here, was known to behave badly at times, and once threw his satchel through a classroom window. Yet he is an example to us all as to what can be achieved with hard work and meeting the right people, as he is now an Ofsted inspector, though thankfully we are spared his attentions due to his son’s presence. I am told that he is not popular in some schools elsewhere in the region, but as we all know, those places merely have lots of money and not the same history as we do.
Young Stuart has been a pupil here for some time, and has progressed very nicely. I was delighted to see he had a piece published on the website of the local newspaper, but unfortunately it seems it was missed by many as it was taken down before lunch.
Master Bell has excelled in art throughout his stay with us, but I must admit to some concern over his output this year. He appears to be paying too much attention to pupils in other schools, particularly those at Cubist College. Quite frankly I couldn’t see what he was trying to paint at times.
Our new boy Master Wood has shown signs that he could be a credit to the school, but there was that unfortunate episode where he entirely misunderstood what was asked of him when requested to feed the school gerbil. It was deeply regrettable, but I suppose at least that horse had a good meal.
Master Buttler didn’t seem himself at all this year. Sitting at the back of the class and keeping quiet isn’t what we expect from him, even though he did his homework conscientiously. I’m also concerned that he seemed to ask Master Bairstow to do it for him at times. This is not permitted, and we have made it clear only one of them can ask questions at a time.
Master Finn has rejoined the school this year. I want to make it absolutely clear that no teacher bears any blame or responsibility for his troubles over the last couple of years, no matter what some parents have said. We have complete faith in our teaching and just because a boy can no longer write is not down to the school, even if he did have a book published some years ago. He has been nothing but polite all year and we are very proud of how he can now tell the difference between the letter a and d.
I would like to conclude by thanking those visiting schools we have hosted this year. The first of them in the spring surprised many of us, and although I don’t feel that nightly parties are quite the thing, it did seem to go down well with everyone here. It is a concern how quickly our students copied them, but they seemed to enjoy themselves.
Our old friends from the other side of the county came to stay with us once again. I know some of you have expressed a concern at how often they have joined us, but the annual donation from friend of the school Mr Sky is essential to our finances. We have committed to spending at least £20 on the playing fields around the school as a result, and I’m sure no one can argue with that.
It was certainly a pleasure to have their company again, and as ever their school motto “Colonium vivimus convicto” flew proudly at the gates. We do need to make some allowances for how differently they do things, and whilst it may have been surprising to see Master Watson’s behaviour in woodwork class, it may well be that they have taught him to hammer a nail in using his legs rather than the tools provided. I do appreciate some teachers found it odd that he would constantly ask for their second opinion having done so, but we must respect their different ways.
We have a very busy year ahead of us, with two big school trips coming up. I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to Mr Beatty to help fund the one to the middle east, as Mr Sky isn’t answering my phone calls. Indeed Mr Beatty has been most helpful to us all year, but I must make it clear that young Pietersen is not to be allowed to help you out.
Thank you all for coming today, and if any of you have any questions for myself or Mr Clarke, please feel free to make an appointment and we shall lose no time in answering you. Not you Kimber. Not you Collins. Who let you in anyway? Out!