So some bright spark has come up with a brilliant way of getting some much-needed attention from the local (and perhaps national?) press – thereby attracting more middle class parents to send their children to Ordinary Comprehensive. A school middle leaders focus group (led by Mr Keen but overseen by myself to ensure that procedure is followed) has come up with an exciting idea for the front cover of the new school prospectus.
They have proposed commissioning the sixth-form life drawing class to paint a full length nude portrait of the senior team. Keen insisted it would be tasteful, with the London Schools Cross Country Shield (of which the school is unduly proud) and large print versions of the school’s Code of Conduct deployed judiciously to preserve everyone’s modesty. Certainly, I conceded, it would demonstrate that we were in touch with the needs and concerns of students and their families. Then I outlined my concerns.
Firstly, I explained, although the idea is sound in principle (if a little eccentric), I suspect there are likely to be Health and Safety implications. Secondly, I imagine most of my wishy-washy liberal senior team colleagues will be too cowardly or too vain to donate a few hours of their time to such a worthy cause. And finally, I suggested, there might not be sufficient space upon the page to fit everyone in, on account of our top-heavy management structure.
I had not intended the innuendo and was rather dismayed by the exuberant titters of Miss Giggles and Mr Filth in response to my little boob. Even Miss Drab smiled, which probably did her some good.
When they had regained their composure, I said that the plan would have my support if they made some minor alterations. All joking aside, I began, there really is insufficient space on the front cover for a group portrait. Much better, from a design perspective, to have a single key figure, ideally someone rather more ‘easy on the eye’ than our Head; someone, moreover, who represents a combination of dynamic reforming zeal with traditional common-sense values. That someone really ought to be Oxbridge educated – ideally Oxford – and if that someone already had a positive relationship with the media and perhaps some unofficial links to a major political party… well, that would really set the ‘icing upon the cake’. I struck a disarmingly alluring yet authoritative pose then left them to brainstorm a suitable candidate for this important role as I sashayed out of the meeting room.
Something very funny must have happened immediately after I left the room for once again my junior colleagues in the focus group burst into noisy fits of laughter. I was glad not to have become caught up in whatever puerile frivolity was distracting them this time and marched down the corridor to my next challenge.