Introducing Mr 'B' (Buckingham), our school birdwatching enthusiast. He teaches English to Years 4 and 5; History to Years 4, 6 and 7, and Boys’ Games ...
"My children can now identify Sparrow Hawks and Buzzards; they know the sound of a Song Thrush and Blackbirds,” said one parent in the school's recent Parent Satisfaction Survey. That's all down to Mr. Buckingham, or Mr 'B', as he's known to the children at West Sussex prep school Sompting Abbotts.
Mr B holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences and has previously worked as a forest worker, arborist and shore warden. A member of the Sussex Ornithological Society, over his years at the school since 1995, he has nurtured many fledgling ornithologists. Those in his form look forward to their early morning 'Tweet of the Day' outings around the grounds several days a week – binoculars, recording equipment and notebooks in tow.
You just have to visit Mr B's classroom to see evidence of the special inspiration he takes from Nature. He likes to paint the display boards himself with natural scenes such as moonlit woods and the hills of the Downs. "Mr B is a kind and diligent teacher who has a gentle knack of encouraging others to value Nature," says Headmaster Mr Douch. "He has enriched my own knowledge of plant-life in our beautiful South Downs Natural Park. He took me on a trip a couple of years ago over the Downs and uncovered some early Spider Orchids, I was astounded by the flowers and the extent of Mr B’s detailed knowledge."
The school timetable’s careful construction and supervision of the GL National Curriculum Assessments are overseen by Mr B. These are just a few of the vital things he does around the school to ensure its smooth operation on a day-to-day basis. He also records all the school’s data and oversees its tracking.
Mr B is also a keen gardener and runs the extra-curricular gardening club. His Year 4 children, as part of their PSHE, get to grow their own fruit and vegetables in the school's Victorian greenhouses which Mr B maintains carefully. Fresh produce is then passed to the staff in the school kitchens for school meals.
He's passionate about sport too; coaching cricket, football and rugby with dedication and he has been trained by the appropriate sport bodies to deliver these sports.
Mr B works in a team capacity with Mr Douch and Mrs Kelly in the school's history department. He has established solid connections with nearby 'living history' institutions including Petworth House and Preston Manor, where the children can dress up and use role-play to get a truly vivid feel of past lives.
So next time you see Mr B cycling in or out over the Bostal Road, you'll know a little more of the superb work he contributes to the school.