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End of term offerings – Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 3rd August 2016

August 3, 2016

End of term offerings

I was amazed to read in the recent Press the following snippet: Ellen Widdup in the East Anglian Daily Times looks at the end of term gifts given to teachers, highlighting a study showing that British teachers receive end of term gifts worth around £77m, each individual’s being worth £300 on average when the school year concludes. It may be that I am a very unpopular schoolmaster but the thought that £300 is the average makes me feel that I am doing a great deal to pull down this ‘average’ figure – and this again makes me wonder what the upper end of the scale is like!

When I was a Head in India I was occasionally offered the use of a holiday home in Goa or access to a flat in Mumbai enroute to the airport. I never took up the former but occasionally did accept help with the latter from an existing parent (never a prospective one – there were all sorts of potential inducements from parents desperate to secure places for their children) if this meant an opportunity to catch up with a parent who rarely made it to our remotely located school. On some occasions it also enabled a meeting with a prospective parent who couldn’t easily visit the school.

I certainly appreciate the odd bottle of wine at Christmas, even a tin of biscuits (more easily shared with the prefects who visit my office than the wine!). The best gifts, however, are the ones which don’t cost a thing – a least not in a monetary sense. These are the notes, cards and letters of appreciation in which something of the young person’s view of school is shared. Currently in my office I have a super photo from the Year 11 leavers of 2015 taken at their Prom and gifted by the then Head Boy. I also have a large poster of Narnia, also gifted by leavers, and in fond (?) memory of the many assemblies based around CS Lewis’ fabled land!

2016.8.2 HM blog Headboy card

Year 11 Ballard School leavers of 2015 taken at their Prom and gifted by the then Head Boy

 

An article in the Independent back in May seems to me to be the perfect antidote to this article about expensive gifts to teachers. This article, by correspondent Catherine Ball, reflects on the loss of her entire set of wedding gifts: the company that she created her list with, WrapIt, went into administration at the start of the credit crunch and she received nothing! She then writes: ‘Since I married, I’ve been to weddings where the bride and groom have asked their guests for thoughtful gestures instead of toasters or envelopes stuffed full of cash, and I think they may be on to something. One friend asked guests for their favourite recipe to be added to a scrapbook, while another asked people to contribute a pearl of wisdom. By not asking for extravagant presents, these couples have ended up with something far more precious and long-lasting than anything my gift list could have brought me…’

Rehendi_Suite_Deck_(Service) blog

A beach hut in Bali… or the Maldives perhaps?!

So, whilst I am sure I’d love that loan of a beach house in Bali or the hot air balloon ride across the Nile, I know I will value all the more the heart-felt letter, photo or card from the appreciative pupil or parent – and this certainly won’t cost anyone £300!

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

We tweet from @BallardSchool

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here

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