In one of the most iconic scenes in British television comedy, Trigger, the butt of so many ‘Only Fools and Horses’ jokes, proudly reveals that he has used the same road sweeping brush for his entire career. “This old broom”, he says “has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles”. We, the audience, are laughing at his apparent stupidity long before Sid points out “how is it the same broom then?”
But, on closer examination, Trigger is maybe not so daft after all.
When Roman writer Plutarch published his ‘Life of Theseus’, he described how the Athenians had maintained the ship of their famous king in the harbour as a museum piece. Every year, Plutarch tells us, rotten planks were replaced with new ones such that, over time, every part of the ship had been replaced. So, was it still Theseus’s ship? (Yes, according to Trigger and, indeed, the Athenians!) If not, at what point did it cease to be his ship? It was, said Plutarch, a philosophical problem that had divided thinkers for generations.
There will come a day when each one of the current staff is no longer working here but through the hard work and dedication of each of us the school will remain and continue for many years. For me this idea is embodied in the word ‘stewardship’. We all are tasked with being stewards of this culture – keeping the torch alight. Each and everyone of us has a responsibility for the direction and effectiveness of our school.