Sunday 17 November 2019

This headmaster’s surprise assembly performance of Les Miserables will make your week

A bunch of his fellow teachers joined in too. No school leavers’ assembly can top this…

(Monkton Combe School/PA)
(Monkton Combe School/PA)

By Georgia Humphreys

A headmaster at a school near Bath stunned pupils and parents when he dramatically broke into song mid-way through a speech.

Chris Wheeler, the principal of Monkton Combe School, was addressing pupils who are leaving the senior school, and their parents, when he stopped talking and slowly began performing One Day More from the musical Les Miserables.

Not only did Wheeler suitably sing his heart out as the character of Jean Valjean, but other teachers also joined in, including the school’s deputy head Joe Sidders.

Other notable performers included English teacher Joanna House, maths teacher Alice Fox and history teacher Sam Palmer. Got to have a lot of respect for the bold way they pop up from the crowd with a microphone in hand…

While many students and parents were left looking very confused at first, a number of pupils at Monkton, which is a co-educational boarding and day school for pupils aged 2-18, were also in on the surprise song too.

Footage of the assembly was posted on the school’s Facebook page and YouTube accounts afterwards, resulting in thousands of views.

The students and parents at this year's Speech Day at Monkton were certainly in for a surprise. Principal Chris Wheeler was halfway through his speech when this happened…

Posted by Monkton School on Sunday, July 2, 2017

Delighted comments on the Facebook post include “Been to a few prize givings, this one was outstanding!!” and “Always good to think outside the box. That’s how you inspire children.” Meanwhile, one impressed pupil wrote: “Genius idea! Chris and co., you really rock!”

“I am always keen to show pupils that just as we ask them to put themselves out there, so we are prepared to do the same,” said Wheeler.

“There aren’t many schools where the deputy head, medical centre nurse, a houseparent, pupils and even a governor would be prepared to risk embarrassment in the name of fun but I am very proud that Monkton is one.”

Other schools planning leaving assemblies: the challenge has been set.

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