Head boy for a term

Sunday 15th April 2012

“COME in … ah, yes, Moore … I’ve decided to make you Head Prefect. Congratulations. Take a seat.”

Not that I’d have turned it down, you understand, but that’s how it was: politely matter-of-fact. The briefing was brief:

“I expect you know the score – staff cover, tuck shop, Bible readers, playground duties, detentions. The Upper Third are getting a little too boisterous, but I’m sure you’ll handle it. Try not to threaten them with my cane very often. I’ll announce it to the school tomorrow morning. Any questions?”

Only for the final term of my final year, but you leave his study with a proud swagger, momentarily forgetting there were only about five possible candidates, everyone else in the third year sixth having left after securing Oxbridge places or finding half-decent jobs.

And this odd feeling of suddenly being grown up – or, at least, that that would be others’ expectation of you. I was still a kid, more inclined to undermining authority than being it. Responsibility? me? er… crikey!

I often let those in detention go home early and tried not to hand out too many ‘lines’, having suffered numerous such dull punishments when younger. We all blushed when an angry member of staff burst into the Prefects’ Room to complain about our raucous singing. I think I even wrote a formal letter of apology.

There were no glasses of sherry with governors or similar perks. Nor do I remember any significant achievements, other than persuading the Headmaster to allow us to invite girls to evening events in the common-room: talks, debates, play readings, the occasional discotheque.

Knowing the most senior pupils attended only a few weekly classes – prior to re-sitting, say, an A-level or two – he’d see us once a week in his study, for a general chit-chat. We listened politely while he spoke of forthcoming retirement and what he would like to have done with his life.

I remember nothing of the day I left… other than adding my school cap to a bonfire at the bottom of the garden.








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