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Leadership Likes: Mr King


Snooker is a game of skill, strategy, patience and precision.  The maximum break (number of points scored in one visit to the table) is 147.

This week, Croydon High School turned 147 years old! Below you can see an advert announcing the opening of the school, under the leadership of our founder Miss Dorinda Neligan.

What has snooker got to do with Croydon High School?

Interestingly, not a great deal. We don’t have a snooker club in the co-curricular timetable, for example. I’m not aware of any alumnae enjoying specific success in the sport, (though I hope that there are those who have).

As a metaphor, it doesn’t offer a great deal. So little, in fact, that is possible to inspect elements of snooker and suggest it is almost diametrically opposed to Croydon High School!

Snooker players play in silence, not sharing their thoughts or strategy with any teammates. Croydon High pupils do not – they discuss the world around them and their own aspirations for how they will contribute it.

Snooker hasn’t changed much in the last 147 years (although relatively recent dabbling with the “miss” rule, still elicits ire from players at the top of the sport). Croydon High School has obviously changed in that time, and seeks to do so continually, so long as the changes are ones to benefit its pupils and their futures. I doubt “the bench” will change much and the current school location enjoys a mixture of original school furnishings and up to date purpose-built facilities. (Spoiler alert – the podcasting room is nearly finished).

Snooker is played with the sole aim of beating an opponent, whereas Croydon High School pupils do what they can in school, together and alone, to acknowledge and help those in our community and more globally who could do with a helping hand. Academically, they are teammates – understanding that the competition is in the world they are about to enter, not in the seat next to them.

In snooker, the different coloured balls indicate how many points each is worth when “pocketed”, with the lowly reds being one point, and the black being seven. Croydon High School pupils are individuals and each can offer and enjoy something different. Indeed these skills and interests are not fixed like the points in snooker, but may change throughout their time at the school as their interests develop.  They are each equally important to the success of the school. (This is not to say there aren’t the undertones of hierarchy…the Year 7 will forever have form rooms at the top of K block, methinks!).

As Croydon High School turns 147, the essence of any normal birthday holds true: we are very grateful for what has gone before, we are happy to spend time with those here with us now, and we look forward with excitement to what is possible in the future. And…….cake.

Mr David King

Deputy Head (Pastoral)


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