The Pirate Of Jaywick

    The Pirate of Jaywick

    This picture was taken at Brightlingsea Sailing Club in Essex on the last of five days of sailing as part of our Buoyed Up programme. I am not a sailor and I don’t know much about boats, but I wanted to have some fun with our pupils and well as work with the sailing instructors

    A Pirate’s Life
    What’s important is why I appear to be a pirate in this picture. As you have probably guessed, it’s because of Buoyed Up. You see, I am a teacher. At school I am known as Mr G, because my surname is a bit of a mouthful: Girdlestone. You get the point. The primary school where I teach is in a place called Jaywick. It’s right next to Clacton-on-Sea in Essex. The school is called the Sir Martin Frobisher Academy. Sounds very grand, I know, but it is part of a down-to-earth place by the sea. It’s not an easy life for many people in our community but we all pull together as best we can and try to help each other. Our school, our values, all that we do, matter to more people than I can possibly say.

    The real pirate in this story, by the way, is Martin Frobisher. He was an English explorer and seaman over 450 years ago who used to plunder French ships for gold and precious cargo. That wasn’t why he was knighted, however. That was because he showed great courage and skill in commanding the Royal Navy’s largest ship, Triumph, in the defeat of the invading Spanish Armada in 1588. In fact, our school logo, as you can see, is a reminder of that remarkable moment in British history and our connection with it.

    Anyway, back to me as a pirate. This picture was taken at Brightlingsea Sailing Club in Essex on the last of five days of sailing as part of our Buoyed Up programme. I am not a sailor and I don’t know much about boats, but I wanted to have some fun with our pupils and well as work with the sailing instructors to help them get the most from their sailing experience.

    I am not a pirate. Really. I’m not. I can look like one. Even sound like one if I try. Bear with me and I’ll tell you who I am in a minute. That’s not the important thing, though.

    Ready To Have A Go
    I was trying to encourage our pupils to get into the spirit of the occasion. And that’s my point. If you are going to do something, don’t do it by half. The key thing is to have a go. You might just discover something about yourself that you didn’t know was there: a new talent maybe, a hidden strength, a first awareness of a skill you have, something that gives you energy and makes you feel good about who you are and what you can do in future.

    The idea behind Buoyed Up is to help you do just that. Think of it as a beginning, a first navigation, if you like, heading in the direction of being the best you can be. There will be opportunities in secondary school, lots of them. Setbacks, too, and disappointments to deal with, but don’t give up. I think that’s what I like most about Sir Thomas Lipton. He never gave up and he had this amazingly positive attitude all through his life.

    Achieve Anything
    Who’s to say what you will become when you are older. So, I would say to you after Buoyed Up, and remembering that you never thought you would sail or be able to capsize a boat, SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITIES in front of you. You can achieve anything and be whatever you want to be with hard work and resilience (but hopefully not a pirate).

    With thanks to David Girdlestone, Deputy Headteacher of Sir Martin Frobisher Academy, Jaywick, Essex

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