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Be inspired by John Rankin

Names are important. They are a fundamental element of self-definition, says the textbook, which is odd because a name is usually a label you are stuck with.

There are exceptions: pop and film stars are wont to abandon their birth name in favour of a more marketable moniker. The same goes for schools, where the new head at Godawful Secondary soon decides that Rising Stars High School has a much nicer ring to it.

In any case, a name is an unreliable prophet. Primrose View Primary is quite likely to overlook a gasworks.

John Rankin Junior school sits on the site of the battle of Newbury, in west Berkshire, where royalists and roundheads fought in 1643. So, was Rankin one of the warriors? No, born 30 years too late, he was a local dignitary who steered through turn-of-the-century education reforms and then faded into oblivion.

Whether his name inspires the current crop of Newbury's children is something the school is a little coy about. It is looking for a senior teacher to join the management team and would prefer to focus on qualities such as the ability to lead, manage and initiate change at the 250-pupil school.

But why shouldn't teachers extol the quieter virtues of duty and service? Which role model would you prefer, dashing warrior or responsible citizen?

Applicants keen to follow in John Rankin's footsteps should contact the headteacher, tel 01635 42859.

Phil Revell

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