In Learning Futures we've learned how much untapped talent and passion there is among the staff, students, and parents in our schools - talent which can be brought out through open-ended projects that draw on interests and skills that stretch far beyond the 'academic'.
Having said that, this story takes it to a whole new level: Mohamed Ibrahim, a Learning Support Officer* at Newman Catholic College in London, took up the post of Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia this summer. The first his headteacher heard of it was his letter of resignation. "He was always such a humble guy," the headteacher is reported as saying. "I got the impression he was well-respected by the boys and their Somali parents. But I did not see this coming. I was gobsmacked."
Interestingly, though the Guardian seems to have missed this story so far, it reported on a press conference that Ibrahim held in Rome in July (the article does not mention Ibrahim's position at Newman College).
The moral of this story is that it's really worth finding out what your staff like doing in their spare time - one can just imagine the kinds of projects that would have been possible, had other people realised the expertise, and the connections, that Mr. Ibrahim had at his disposal.
(Thanks to Leonie Shanks for clueing me in to this story)
*Most of the newspapers identify him as a teacher, but Newman College's website says he's a Learning Support Officer