Well, what is there to say about Jim
Bischoff? He is a man of many parts.
During his time at Pinewood he has
been Senior Master, a Year 7 form tutor,
i/c rugby and athletics and has done a
great deal to foster and maintain
contact with the Old Pinewoodian
Alumni and much more beside.
Before arriving at Pinewood, Jim had an eclectic mix of jobs, settling
eventually into the post of school master. He worked for a time at
Horris Hill, nurtured his knowledge and love of wine during a period
spent with Grants of Saint James, and completed a Certificate of
Education at Exeter in Environmental Studies. He married Sarah in
August 1980, just prior to joining the Pinewood staff.
Jim and Sarah took up residence in Speedwell Cottage and no one
could fail to be impressed by the yellow Lotus parked outside.
However, this fairly soon morphed into a very old Morris 1000 with
mushrooms growing on the woodwork. This might explain why Jim
has always been on the look-out for field mushrooms when in
season! They moved to Pilgrim Cottage in Highworth where their
son Thomas (the one and only true ‘Bish’) was born and then
returned to York Cottage, Bourton, in 1985. Bridie, Jim and Sarah’s
daughter, was born in 1988.
Jim was appointed as Head of Geography by Henry Boddington
and also taught English and Maths. He has earned a positive
reputation for being able to nurture and bring on pupils in his care,
especially those in the lower sets, having an acute understanding of
their individual needs. He also added the posts of House Master
and ‘Activities’ guru to his job spec!!
Here are some further anecdotes and musings that illustrate the
varied life and interests of the man:
Before the current Year 8 Leavers’ Trip to France was established,
Jim would take the leavers to Chudleigh in Devon to experience rock
climbing, abseiling, caving, wind-surfing, sailing, swimming, both in
the pool and the sea and a bit of bowling thrown in for goodmeasure.
The final day’s activity was always the scariest, consisting of climbing
and sea-traversing at Babbacombe Bay, just outside Torquay.
Jim has been a Geography Head of Department for 40 years (36 at
Pinewood) and was instrumental in making Pinewood the first Prep
School to be involved in a World Wide Web project resulting in
children from Pinewood being guests on Blue Peter, John Craven’s
Newsround and Oxford Radio – a fantastic achievement I hear
For many years, Jim was master in charge of rugby, athletics and
cross-country. He still maintains his keen interest in rugby and
passes on his profound knowledge of the game by virtue of being
an RFU referee assessor, spending many Saturday afternoons on
the touchline of a club match.
Other responsibilities that Jim has undertaken over the years are:
Presentation Cups and the engraving thereof; House Points co-
ordinator; Staff Cover (Oh what joy!); but most important of all – the
winding up of the clocks and the raising of the school flag. No major
occasion can pass by without the Crossed Keys of St Peter fluttering
in the breeze.
Jim has given a lot of time to Old Pinewoodians over the years,
organising rugby and hockey matches and masterminding many a
Pinewood Ball. His memory of past pupils is phenomenal and he
always loves to hear their news.
The success of the annual Pinewood Quiz is largely down to Jim.
Standing behind the lectern, he would deliver the questions in an
authorative, no-nonsense fashion and woe betide any teammember
who dared to challenge an answer. It could cost them dearly!
Jim’s hobbies include stamp collecting, antiques and gardening. He
is a well-known expert on treen snuff boxes and collectors from
around the globe regularly seek his advice. He is infamous for being
a competitor on the BBC TV quiz show ‘Antiques Master’ hosted by
Jim has richly contributed to the Pinewood community over the last
36 years and he, along with his vast collection of bow ties, will be
hugely missed in so many areas of the school. We wish him a fond
farewell and a relaxed, well-deserved retirement.
Bonne chance mon ami!
CF and AC
Sue, or ‘Big Sue’ as she was
affectionately known, has worked with
us since May 2008. A valued and
conscientious member of the Domestic
team, Sue would often be found
happily working away and singing to
herself. Sue supported the domestic team and chefs alike, never
afraid to roll her sleeves up and help out. Sue particularly loved the
atmosphere and warmth of the Christmas Fair, always supporting
stall holders and never failing to win on the tombola. Jim Bischoff
would always seek her out to swap his winnings of white wine for her
red! Sue has moved on to working at a coffee shop closer to home
and we wish her all the very best.
(A Belated Valete)
Ros arrived at Pinewood with her son,
James in September 2004. With the
children at school she decided to look
for work and wandered into the office
one afternoon asking if there were any
jobs going! By January she was
employed by the Bursar to help him with the finances. A marvel with
figures she quickly took on the role of Finance Manager and was
soon reporting the accounts and budgets to the Governors. Harriet
joined her brother at Pinewood in the Spring of 2005 and with both
children here at school, Ros was able to take on more hours. Ros
had the unenviable task of being both a member of staff and a
parent, but managed to balance the two jobs brilliantly and was a
huge supporter of the school. Despite rushing round the country
with Harriet for tennis matches, accounts and salaries were
produced promptly without fuss.
Ros left us in November 2014 to work for the Rhodes Institute in
Oxford, where she could be seen cycling from the Park and Ride
into the centre of Oxford and eating sticky buns in the High! I feel
very lucky to have worked with Ros and she is still missed in the
office, particularly for her wonderful sense of humour. We wish her,
Colin, James and Harriet all happiness for their future.
Chris was appointed to Pinewood by Geoffrey
Walters, making him the only member of staff
to have served under five headmasters. Prior
to coming to Pinewood he had studied at The
Royal Manchester College of Music and Trent
Park College, he had taught at a tiny prep
school and a large comprehensive in Ongar.
He became a member of the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus
singing at The Proms, The Festival Hall, both the Bergen and Bath
BLUE & GREY 2016
SALVETE & VALETE