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W*****! Headmaster’s message announcing teacher’s retirement hid coded insult which was spotted by his departing colleague
Mark Dunning announced Roger Clark's retirement in school newsletterBut Mr Clark noticed the kind words were not what they seemedMr Dunning has now quit the 13,000-a-year Orley Farm School in Harrow
10:32 GMT, 1 March 2013
20:15 GMT, 1 March 2013
Retired teacher Roger Clark was insulted by his headmaster Mark Dunning in a school newsletter
As retirement announcements go, it seemed kind and innocuous enough.
But a prep school headmaster's wordplay has cost him his job after his departing colleague detected a stronger sentiment between the lines.
'It is with mixed feelings that I announce the retirement of Mr Roger Clark at the end of this term,' wrote Mark Dunning, the head of the 13,000-a-year Orley Farm School in Harrow, north-west London.
'We all now know every really great teacher has to finish one day and Mr Clark will do so at the end of this term.'
Mr Clark, 64, a teacher of English and
French, spotted that the first letter of the first six words of the
second sentence spelled out a rather uncomplimentary term.
Now Mr Dunning, 50, has been replaced in the head's chair after governors were unimpressed by his efforts, which formed an acrostic, reports the Daily Telegraph.
online edition of the newsletter was quickly updated with a reworded
version to say: 'Every really great teacher has to finish one day and Mr
Clark will do so at the end of this term.'
But the original version of the October half term newsletter is still available on the school's website for all to see.
Mr Clark's staff biographies remain on the school's site, where he is
described as an 'outstanding' teacher and 'inspirational Head of
Library, encouraging and promoting the enjoyment of literature across
Today, his wife Lucia Clark answered the door at their home in Harrow and said she and her husband did not wish to comment on the affair.
At hometime today parents picking up their children at the school expressed surprise and disappointment at the message.
None of those questioned had heard of tensions between Mr Dunning and Mr Clark, and none had noticed the hidden message until the rumours started in in the wake of the head's departure.
One parent, who did not wish to give her name, said: 'It's very unprofessional.
'You expect better from someone running a school where we're paying a fortune for the children not to learn these words.
Orley Farm School teacher Roger Clark spotted that the first letters of the first six words in the second sentence of his retirement announcement spelled out a rather choice insult
'I would like to know the full story, but if he had to leave because of this then I think it's absolutely fair.'
Another man waiting to pick up his child said: 'We got an email telling us about the resignation – we were just told he had resigned. We started getting texts from other parents talking about what was going on.
'A lot of us were angry and annoyed because Mr Dunning was well-liked, respected and well thought-of. This goes against that character if that is what happened.
'It's a fee-paying school, and this sort of thing isn't what you'd expect.
'If you have spent 12-13,000 a year to educate your kids then you want to have confidence in their school.
'Part of me feels sorry for Mr Dunning, but if you're the head of a private prep school you don't do that kind of thing – you can't excuse something like that.'
The school's bursar, Tim Brand, told
MailOnline this morning: 'It's an internal matter for the school, being
dealt with by the governors,' but would not comment further.
Mark Dunning has now left the 13,000-a-year Orley Farm School in Harrow, north-west London
The rude word spelled out by the acrostic was ranked as the fourth most offensive swearword in research by the Advertising Standards Agency in 2000.
Its original meaning has changed over time and is mainly used as an impolite way of calling someone an 'idiot'.
Mr Dunning, who stepped down last month after seven years in the top job, was previously in charge of the independent Bishopsgate School in Surrey and was deputy headteacher of Ranby House prep school in Nottinghamshire, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Orley Farm's former pupils include television presenter Dale Winton and author Anthony Horowitz, who once told the Daily Mail that the school was 'a hellhole of the very first order' during his time there.