Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Five years as Head of Morna.

The end of term privegiving ceremony was also a farewell ceremony for Adrian Massam, the head of Morna since 2005. Mr Massam concluded the ceremony with a leaving speech which has been reproduced here:

This is my last opportunity to stand up here and talk to you all. I’ve got approximately five minutes in which to summarise five years and so I’m going to move fairly quickly from initial impressions to final comments.

I will always remember a rather heated parents meeting back in September 2005 when I was greeted as the new headmaster with a surprising level of mistrust, and this was mainly due to the fact that I was placing a lot of importance on putting fences around the car park and the school grounds. I think some of you feared that I might be planning to convert your free spirited school into some kind of military camp. I remember, a little while after that, when school uniform was introduced there was a similar sort of reaction from some of you.
Five years have passed since that meeting. I sincerely hope that if you look now at the education your children receive, inside the boundary fence and alongside the visual effect of the school uniform, you will agree that it is still based on a philosophy that has allowed the spirit of Morna to remain very much alive.

Personally, I’ve always been considered more of an organiser than a philosopher. The educational philosopher that I work for is all of you sitting out there.
All of you create the spirit of Morna, but if spirits want to move and influence the material world they need the means to do so. My main task has been to focus the school on trying to equip our students with those means. I want the spirit of Morna to have qualifications, skills, moral values and self esteem.

Most of you agree that there has been change and progress over the last five years. Normally any process of successfully moving forward includes three key players:
Number one is the person who literally picks up the machete and hacks the path through the jungle.
Number two is the person who follows up by building a road so that everyone can get to the new territory and then number three organises the people when they arrive so that they can actually live and work together.
If you look at the recent history of Morna, a lot of the credit for the metaphorical jungle cutting has to go to Helen Davenport who really gave the school a huge opportunity by rebuilding it here. I also have to thank her personally for offering me this job in the first place and consequently bringing me to Ibiza.
Referring to person number two, without a doubt the key road builder over the last few years has been Graham Wilkinson. I would like to thank him on behalf of Morna for moving the school forward by setting the right priorities, by organising the necessary funding and simply for wanting the school to be special.
I have been mainly person number three, following the jungle cutter and the road builder by organising the rules in the highway code, painting the white lines and putting up the speed limit signs so that everyone can successfully work together and get what they want or what they expect from the school.

I’m going to slip in a little bit of philosophy by offering you a quote from a psychology professor called Meredith West. I think this quote forms a part of my own philosophy and I’m sure it will help to explain why, on one or two occasions, I have found myself doing battle with the spirit of Morna. Hopefully constructive battle.
Meredith West simply said, “If you want to stand out, don’t be different, be outstanding”. They’re not my words but I would like to borrow them today and offer them to all of you as my personal advice to the Morna of the future.

Before I run out of time, I’m going to take my last opportunity to say thank you to each and every one of you.

Firstly to my colleagues, the staff. I can state with all honesty that the present Morna teachers and administrative staff represent one of the most competent and dedicated school faculties that I’ve ever worked with. These people are your guarantee that Morna will be an excellent school and I want to thank them for doing such a good job. By doing so they’ve made it much easier for me to do a decent job as Headmaster.

Thank you, all of you who are Morna parents. Thank you for being supportive most of the time and also thank you for being critical on occasions. I know I haven’t accepted or agreed with all of your advice but I can assure you that I’ve learned something from every single opportunity that we’ve had to communicate with each other.

And finally thank you Morna students. Thank you for being yourselves. Thank you for listening and learning most of the time, and thank you for making what your teachers and I actually do here such a worthwhile job.

Some people believe that spirits are eternal and if that’s true then the laws of probability state that all of us will meet again an infinite number of times. If, however, that’s not the case then it’s been really nice working with you and I hope to see at least some of you again on some occasions in the future.
Thank you.