Waterloo Road: The tail that wags the school dog

vaughan waterloo road(Series 10, ep.5) Waterloo Road has always been founded on a passionate belief that “these kids” deserve the very best education. They deserve to reach for the stars, ain’t no mountain high enough and any number of inspirational cliches. It’s what head teachers from Jack Rimmer through to Christine Mulgrew via Karen Fisher have sweated to achieve.

Vaughan Fitzgerald, the current incumbent of the swivel chair of power, is a bit different. He apparently thinks that too much hard work is bad for kids, who should be turning themselves into well-rounded individuals via the medium of not doing too much of that tedious revision. “Exams shouldn’t be the tail that wags the school dog,” he announced confusingly, just as exam papers were being handed out. 

That's how I feel about him, Christine

That’s how I feel about him, Christine

I really wish that Vaughan’s alternative plan for “these kids” involved turning Waterloo Road into a hippy commune, letting them roam wild and free picking the magic mushrooms that grow in the adjacent magical forest and turning the school house into an ashram, but it doesn’t. His plan is as dreary and unfocused as he is – a bit of school work, a bit of going outside to kick a football around. He would probably use the word “chillax” with no irony at all if anyone could be bothered to listen to him.

Christine Mulgrew, who lives in the real world (and she’s sober now, so she can see it straight) knows that boys like Lenny Brown don’t get to fulfil their ambitions without a bit of extra help from energy drinks and hard graft. Plus the cash she was getting from his granddad to tutor him came in handy, keeping Connor in the style to which he’s accustomed in That London.

lenny waterloo roadThe exam pressure did turn out to be too much for Lenny and he had a panic attack, but the blame lay more with being undermined by his sister and probably a bit too much caffeine from the energy drinks, rather than not being able to cope with Christine’s mentoring.

hector sue waterloo roadIn most of the exam scenes they’d drafted in a non-speaking extra to invigilate. He was possibly the most unvigilant invigilator I’ve ever seen, though, because he didn’t notice at all when Hector Reid was doing a funny dance at the back of the room. The funny dance was to impress Sue Twinkle-Spark. I’m not impressed by Sue T-S. It’s only been a year since she and Twinkle tied the knot, and she’s already having extra-curricular hanky-panky with Hector. That man only has to take his shirt off and women just swoon.

Kevin Chalk lost his mojo a bit but has found it now, as he’s discovered he’s still a dab hand at hacking the school computer. That must be devilishly difficult, what with the layers of encryption and security Sonya will no doubt have applied (while waiting for her nail varnish to dry). He’s now passing on his skills to Leo Fitzgerald, who may be about to fulfil my hopes that he’s the one interesting member of the Fitzgerald family by becoming an evil genius.

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