Donation overcomes duck-related delays

In February 2006 the OBA kindly donated £500 to the School to mark the OBA Centenary. The idea behind the donation was to spruce up the area in the quad outside the Headmaster’s Office. This was intended to include developing the pond with a fountain and waterfall and general maintenance to make the area a useful teaching resource.

However, wildlife had a different idea! Ducks kept arriving each year to breed in the quad, and always at an awkward time of year – namely during exam season! Indeed, during one exam the baby ducklings attempted their first flight. Unfortunately, 6 of the 8 ducklings mistook the windows of the hall for open sky and slid slowly to the ground with broken necks! These 6 ducklings served a purpose, however, and went towards feeding members of the Physics Department the following weekend…

The School took advice from the RSPCA regarding relocation of the ducks, but there were few viable options suggested. Indeed, the School could be prosecuted if the ducks were ‘interfered with’ in any way. Netting was the RSPCA’s preferred option, but the prohibitive cost ruled this out.

The quad therefore continued as an unkempt pond and the OBA donation sat in a bank account gathering interest. During the summer of 2009, the School was selected to participate in ‘Healthy Schools +’, having been the first school in Bournemouth to achieve ‘Healthy Schools’ status. This secured further funding to allow the School to address ‘health inequalities’ and create ‘legacy projects’ that would benefit students over a number of years.

As a consequence of this during the summer holiday of 2009, the pond area was completely cleared and covered in black plastic. A hard-standing for a greenhouse was created and a fence erected, to separate the area slightly from the hall. The OBA agreed that their donation could be put towards this project and a greenhouse is due to be purchased and installed in the quad. The greenhouse will have a plaque installed which will commemorate the greenhouse as ‘The Old Bournemouthians’ Centenary Greenhouse’.

The area will be used with all year groups in lessons – especially with food technology appearing on the School curriculum – and also as somewhere for younger students to pass lunchtimes in a productive manner by weeding and tending to the vegetables. They may even be able to eat the fruit of their labours in the canteen!

The School would like to thank the OBA for their kind donation and apologise for the fact that it took so long to spend the money. However, the resulting project is hopefully a fitting way to mark the OBA Centenary.