Bablake prize giving for 2007/08

Headmaster’s annual review

L ast year, you may remember that this epic show clashed with the rugby world cup first stage match against South Africa, when England went down to the Springboks 36-0.

It was, anyway, a match to miss, but I hope you’d agree that we’ve been a bit more considerate with our timing this year – and you even have Friday night at home.

And in this hall, there are only winners seated before me, so we clearly have much to celebrate.

I’m not going to be quite so comprehensive in my speech this year,

so I’ll begin by apologising to those I don’t mention – it might be deliberate, but it certainly isn’t because you’re not valued.

As parents, you receive regular feedback on the many successes of our young people, and you have plenty of time to read tonight’s programme,

So I have no intention of being exhaustive or even exhausting.

Let’s face it, you’ve only come tonight for those few seconds of pride, when your son or daughter mounts the stage

(hopefully without tripping up the step – we’ve rehearsed that bit very carefully!) and shakes Mr Hoffman by the hand.

I’ve certainly sweated away in the past as a dad, longing to rise from my small hard primary school seat,

longing for the protracted agony to end as the same child goes up for the twentieth time to receive the tiddlywinks prize, longing for some fresh air.

I’m sure you’ll identify with some of those sentiments, but I am, of course, being deliberately cynical.

We’re here tonight to celebrate numerous individual achievements, the sum of which has contributed so much to Bablake as a thriving community over the past year.

We’re here because of the pride which pupils, teachers, parents and governors share in the school.

And I don’t forget that we’re also here to listen to some words of wisdom from a former pupil, Mr Hoffman.

As you write out that cheque for the fees every term, I hope you might console yourselves with the thought that it’s because Bablake is indeed a special school.

Well, I’m going to be a bit selfish tonight as I’m going to pick out some of last year’s highlights which have made it special for me.

I do spend many of my waking hours at Bablake during term-time, and I’m thrilled by the diversity and richness of what I see and experience.

Many of you will have attended the spectacular concert and food-tasting which formed the culmination of our International Week in April.

During the week, pupils enjoyed inspirational talks and workshops including African drumming, Tai-chi and Caribbean music.

They were able to celebrate the richness of their own cultures, and share this with others.

It spoke volumes about the outward-looking nature of our community, and also about the support of parents, as the Parents’ Association took such an active role in the organisation of the week.

We also encourage our pupils to be generous and outward-looking through the community service scheme and their charitable giving.

Last year they raised in excess of £13K, for various worthy causes, at home and abroad.

This included supporting Mr Hall as he ran the London Marathon for HEART UK, and £2.5K for Malcolm’s charity.

Malcolm Martin is our caretaker, who was given weeks to live when diagnosed with cancer in February 2007.

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