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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
Teachers strip off for calendar
By Angela Harrison
BBC News Online education staff

Music teacher Melanie Macfarlane
Melanie Macfarlane did not want to pose at first
Teachers at a school in Buckinghamshire have given pupils ample ammunition for some very personal teasing.

Following in the footsteps of the Women's Institute pin-ups, they have stripped off for a charity calendar.

Pupils at William Borlase grammar school in Marlow helped to make and market the calendar, which is being used to raise money for a school in South Africa.

They can now see biology teacher John Stebbings in a whole new light.

As Mr March, he is pictured behind a cactus.

Also featured is music teacher Melanie Macfarlane (Miss February) who appears to be playing her cello naked - but isn't.

She was very reluctant to take part but says she is pleased she did.

"I was very concerned about how it would be produced, but the young ladies behind this are very nice people who weren't doing to for a laugh and were very professional."

It's not every day you see your teacher naked
Charlotte, head girl
So far, she says, pupils have been very good about the pictures and she hasn't been teased yet.

"They have been saying how nice the photos are," she said.

Most of the women teachers preserved their modesty by wearing bikinis or swimsuits but the men were less reserved and mostly bared all.

The tasteful shots however are not too revealing and the teachers are shielded with a variety of props, depending on their subject.

Head of maths Andy Howland wasn't the first to offer to pose.

"Initially I was not going to take part, but in the end I didn't want to be upstaged by the others," he said.

He isn't worried about what the pupils will say.

"I'll handle it and anyway I don't think I'll get as much stick as the bodies beautiful around here.

John Stebbings
John Stebbings' unusual approach to biology
At 54, he is one of the older models. He is pictured with his bicycle (and helmet) because he is going to cycle from Edinburgh to Marlow to raise money for an epilepsy charity.

It was pupils who came up with the idea for the calendar as part of a business project under the Youth Enterprise scheme at the school.

They pitched the idea to the teachers, who they say needed little persuading, and began their work under their company, called Zest.

School parent Lucy Dickens - who is a professional photographer - took the pictures.

A few sixth-formers helped her set up for the sessions but did not sit in while the teachers posed.


Head girl Charlotte, 17, is the managing director of Zest.

She said the idea for a calendar came up in a brain-storming session.

"We were a bit worried that the school and the teachers would not agree to it, but they were keen to do it," she said.

The teachers were so keen that the calendar had to be extended by four months to include all 16 who volunteered.

Charlotte says the reaction of pupils has been good so far.

"They seem to have a new-found respect for the teachers, although some find it disturbing.

"It's not every day you see your teacher naked in the technology room or posing with a cello."

Head of maths Andy Howland
Andy Howland: "I didn't want to be upstaged by the others"

Like many others, Sir William Borlase's are following the trail blazed by members of the Rylstone WI in the Yorkshire Dales.

It was in 1999 that members of that group bared all, with just a few pots of jam or bunches of flowers to spare their blushes.

Since then, paramedics, students, fire-fighters and even the Australian women's soccer team have rushed to get their kit off in the name of charity.

But none look close to matching the success of the WI.

About 300,000 copies of their calendar have been sold and the women's story was turned into a film shown in Cannes last month.

Julie Walters and Helen Mirren star in the film, Calendar Girls, which opens in the UK in September.

Sir William Borlase's grammar school may not be able to match that but staff and pupils hope their first print-run of 1,500 copies (9.95 each) will be a sell-out.

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