Alvin Stardust 70s classic My Coo Ca Choo makes TV comeback via Reigate Grammar School
- Credit: Archant
School music group performs on One Show film about headmaster of elite Surrey school whose dad was known for his rockabilly quiff, sideburns and black gloves.
When BBC One’s popular early-evening The One Show wanted to make a film about children of famous parents, it wasn’t long before they came knocking at the door of Reigate Grammar School, where the headmaster is Shaun Fenton.
Shaun’s dad just happens to be iconic 70s pop star Alvin Stardust, once described as ‘the Godfather of British Rock ‘n’ Roll' by none other than Rolling Stone Keith Richards.
Shaun’s distinguished teaching career may be a million miles away from his father’s in showbiz, but the Reigate Grammar School head is immensely proud of his dad’s achievement and was delighted to have the opportunity to share his memories of him in front of the TV cameras.
“Sadly, my father died in 2014, but I have very many happy memories of my childhood and leaped at the opportunity to keep his legacy alive," says Shaun.
"He was my hero because he was my Dad! So I am biased and his biggest fan, of course. I loved his brooding stage persona and think he’s a brilliantly creative part of our musical past. He was also just ‘my Dad’ and whilst I grew up sharing him with fans and others, I have many fabulous memories of growing up. Yes – there were Champagne moments with limousines and groupies but I treasure the times when he was on the touchline cheering me on playing for my school Rugby team.”
“What people don’t often realise is that, behind the glam rock persona, he was a chorister and a grammar school boy from an independent school in Nottingham. This upbringing gave him very traditional values. We would often talk about the importance of good manners, of sport and of the difference that a great school can make.”
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Alvin’s musical education began when he became a choirboy at an independent grammar school – Southwell Minster Grammar School – that could have been very similar to Reigate Grammar School where Shaun is now Headmaster.
So Shaun decided to take The One Show cameras around the school to see the choristers at Reigate Grammar School, to the music recording studio and to his study. Alvin and Shaun spent time in his last years talking about life, families and all sorts of things study. It was clear that Alvin was as proud of Shaun as he was of his Dad.
In fact, Shaun reports that Alvin was never short of advice about how to run a successful school and often referred back to his own school days.
But the high point of The One Show piece was when one of the school’s music groups performed My Coo Ca Choo, probably Alvin’s best-loved single, which peaked at number two in the UK singles chart in 1973 and was a world-wide number 1 hit record.
“I was really proud and actually quite emotional that the students had put in all that effort, in honour of my father," says Shaun. "I was so grateful that they did that for me and also grateful that no-one turned up wearing black leather or sporting a big black quiff hairstyle – that might have been just too much!”
“Being a star must be a huge thrill but being a Headteacher allows me to delight in the success and talent of the young people in our care every day. It is a privilege.”
• The One Show film on Shaun Fenton is due to air on BBC1 on 16 February at 7pm.
• Reigate Grammar School is the first co-educational day school to receive an ‘Exceptional’ ranking for Achievement and Learning from the Independent Schools Inspectorate and is one of only two in the country to have achieved this accolade.
• Shaun Fenton is the only Head in the country to have been Headmaster of a state comprehensive school, of a state Grammar school, an Academy and a leading HMC independent school – Reigate Grammar School.
Reigate St Mary’s Preparatory and Choir School - School Inspection Report 2016
Overall: Reigate St Mary’s Preparatory and Choir School has been judged to be EXCELLENT in every category.
The school believes that happy children make the best learners, and it seeks to ensure that encouragement and praise lead to self-confidence and to excellent standards being achieved in all areas of pupils’ studies. It strives to emphasise good relationships, care for one another and an appreciation of pupils’ personal responsibility towards the wider and world communities. In drawing upon its Christian values, the school aims to nurture the qualities of care, integrity, respect and mutual understanding.
• Achievement and Learning: Excellent
• Curriculum and Extra-curricular: Excellent
• Teaching and Learning: Excellent
• Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development of pupils: Excellent
• Pastoral Care: Excellent
• Welfare, Health and Safety: Excellent
• Governance: Excellent
• Leadership and Management: Excellent
• Links with parents: Excellent
‘Pupils have outstanding numeracy skills, and approach problems logically.’
‘Pupils are inspired by enrichment activities that support their learning and produce high quality work as a result.’
‘The pupils’ experience and enjoyment are enhanced by an extensive range of subjects and experiences and an excellent extra-curricular programme; this is seen as a strength of the school by the parents.’
‘All pupils have outstanding social skills, and develop a strong awareness of their own faith and a respect for the cultures of others.’
‘Links with the local community are strong; the choristers sing regularly in the local church and the school’s eco committee plant flowers in association with the local council. The latter reflects the school’s commitment to developing pupils’ social responsibility, which is embedded in activities across the curriculum.’
‘The quality of leadership and management, including links with parents, carers and guardians, is excellent.’
‘The leadership of the school is highly successful in achieving excellent educational outcomes, and providing pupils with outstanding personal development opportunities and standards of care.’
All areas of rating were deemed to be “excellent” at Reigate St Mary’s Preparatory and Choir School including: pupils’ behaviour, the wide range of extra-curricular activities, arrangements for pupils’ pastoral care, welfare, and health and safety, links with parents, the quality of governance, leadership and management and teachers’ subject knowledge.
Marcus Culverwell, Headmaster said: “I am delighted with the outcome of the inspection which recognises all the areas in which we take so much pride. It comprehensively praises the relationships between pupils and the mutual care and cooperative learning that they demonstrate. The excellent relationship between pupils and staff is also highlighted as are the high standards achieved. It reflects well what Reigate St Mary’s is all about’.
For Further Information please contact: Susan Trantor
Tel: 01737 244880