Tag Archives: education

End-of-Year Hootenanny

Recently, I was invited by members of staff to attend the end-of-year buffet. After serving thirty eight years hard labour at the school, I could hardly refuse.  Given my disabilities, though, I thought it best to treat it as a pop concert. There should be a continuous medical presence, preferably with pessimistic posters…
These are the people who really run the place. Today they will judge the acts…
You will need a fabulous sound system and an expert to run it…
And will you need reliable security…
The first two acts were real blasts from the past…

A critical audience prepared their ammunition…

B1Expectations were high, after that wonderful food and the odd snifter, all on offer at prices to suit the teachers’ pocket….
First, a familiar warm-up act…
…introduced the most cultured man I have ever met…
He spoke wise words for those with power over education at a national level…

By now, a slight shuffling feet of the audience betrayed their desire for something a little lighter, perhaps. A country-and-western singer?
Or perhaps a stand-up comedian?
Reactions were varied. Some seemed not to really like that kind of thing…

Others were even more disapproving…
Simon’s disappearing microphone trick was completely lost without trace…
But thank goodness, though, not before he remembered to introduce, in the most moving terms, Jim, one of nature’s true gentlemen, and a man who lives up to his faith every single second of the day…
Finally found the microphone though…
Just in time to bring on the star turn, Old Whispering Jim…
The inventor of the paper aeroplane…
“Order!! Order!! Order!! Quieten down please!! You’ve all seen a paper aeroplane before!!
And then the familiar music echoed forth, as we awaited some death defying stunt…
Next it was Paul, with the prototype of his recently invented self-camouflaging tie…
An Everton supporter then suddenly rushed on stage, trying to re-enact the events of the 1966 F.A.Cup Final, attempting vainly to gate-crash the whole event…..
The jury were by now ready for the “Best Dressed” contest. Their empty flying bottles of Budweiser, however, would not be allowed to affect the result…
Would it be the same winner for the previous six years?? A lucky seventh triumph?? And would she want a croquet set as first prize??
But no, controversy then ensued! Professor Major’s hat took all the votes, but should he have been wearing it inside in the first place??

Still, at least Everton Mcgibbon can give us a song…

It hasn’t been easy to turn all these different photographs into a coherent story. I hope nobody has been offended. Let’s finish with a slide show of the others that didn’t quite make the cut. There were quite a few suggestions to explain away the occasional blurring. A room that was surprisingly dark for photography? A lens which had to be open for as long as one eighth of a second? Or just a camera with beer goggles?

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Happy retirement, everybody. You have more than earned it.





Filed under Nottingham, Personal, The High School

“500 Happy Returns” Now on Sale!

500 happy returns nottingham high school's birthdayI am thrilled to announce that my new book, 500 Happy Returns: Nottingham High School’s Birthday, is now available for purchase. Over the past month or so I’ve been working on the finished publication, and I’m delighted that it’s now ready to be presented to customers. The proof copies arrived about a week ago, and it was very exciting to see a giant word document transformed into a real, physical book. Now I’m getting excited all over again when I see the book listed on Amazon!

This book is the culmination of a creative writing project to commemorate the school’s half millennium milestone. I invited all the staff, pupils (from age 4-18), cleaners, and support staff to write a hundred words about their day, preferably linking their entry to a specific time. I had the idea that these entries could tell the story of the school day minute-by-minute from a broad perspective. Participation was entirely voluntary, and I was really pleased to get around 800 contributions from members of the school. The good news is that these entries cover the whole day and now you can pick up a book that charts a typical school day in a top British public school at the turn of the twenty-first century. It’s great to be able to see such a tangible product at the end of a school project, and I hope that all staff and pupils involved really like what has been achieved, and enjoy seeing their contributions in the book.

Hopefully, a lot of people will enjoy reading this volume, especially as it commemorates the 500th birthday of the school and all the profits are being donated to the school’s bursary funds. So here’s hoping that this publication will provide a lasting legacy for the education of gifted children years down the line!

Now available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

Now available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com


Filed under Nottingham, The High School, Writing

New book sent to the press!

cover of bookJust a quick announcement to say how happy I am that we’ve managed to secure a publisher for our school project. In February the school celebrated its 500th birthday, and we asked each member of the school – staff, boys (aged 4-18), cleaners, support staff, and caterers – to record what they were doing at any part of their working day in 100 words. I’ve finished editing all the reports, and I’m pleased to say that we have a minute-by-minute snapshot of the school on its 500th birthday from over 800 perspectives.

I was originally planning on releasing the book just on Kindle, but I am very pleased to be able to tell you that there will be a physical edition of the book as well! You will be able to buy paperback copies of the books from Amazon, or download it straight to your Kindle.

All proceeds from the sale of this volume will be donated to the school’s bursary funds which provide crucial financial help to children from all backgrounds.


Filed under Nottingham, The High School, Writing

Publishing a New Book – Cover Just Finished!

We’ve just finished working on the cover for the Kindle release of our new book – check it out!

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New Book Coming Soon!

John Knifton blog picSometime in the next couple of weeks I’ll be publishing my new book about the 500th anniversary of Nottingham High School.

500 Happy Returns: Nottingham High School’s Birthday is a unique celebration of the school’s anniversary, recording the events of the day from a huge range of perspectives. A few weeks ago, on February 1st, everybody at Nottingham High School was invited to write a short description of what they had done in any given part of their day. This included all the teachers, all the support staff and all the boys, from the very youngest in Lovell House (aged 4) to the young men of Year 13.

I have now finally finished collating the results, which total almost 800 individual contributions. It has produced a fascinating, and perhaps poignant, minute-by-minute snap shot of life in a public school at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

As soon as the book is published I will post details of how to get a copy on this website, so please come back soon.

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Filed under Writing