Celebration of headteachers’ service to Devon’s children

Posted on: 17 July 2017

A celebration of nearly 300 years of service to children in Devon by 10 headteachers has been held by the county’s schools chiefs.

Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, James McInnes, Chief Executive Phil Norrey and Head of Education and Learning, Dawn Stabb, hosted the celebration for heads who left their schools during the current academic year after a lifetime of service in Devon and other parts of the country.

All the heads were retiring from Devon schools but some were going on to work in other areas.

In North Devon, Garry Read spent 35 years as head of Swimbridge Primary School – the longest-serving head in Devon and, it is thought, nationally. Sandy Brown was executive head of Woolacombe, Coombe Martin and Bampton primary schools and left after 33 years’ service in Devon, Karen Rogers left The Lampard School after 23 years’ service and David Fitzsimmons left Holsworthy College after 14 years.

In West Devon, Nicola Pratten spent 27 years teaching children in the county and retired as head of Mary Tavy and Brentor Primary School. Nick D’Agorne
from North Tawton Primary gave 20 years’ service in Devon while Tim Woodward retired as head of Lew Trenchard School after 14 years’ service in Devon.

In South Devon, Roger Clarke retired as head of Broadhempston Primary School after 38 years’ service in Devon and, in Mid Devon, Richard Sommerwill left Stoke Canon Primary after 25 years’ service in Devon.

The chief executive of the First Federation, which oversees 13 primary schools across Devon, Paul Jones, who was previously head of Blackpool Primary, is also leaving after 42 years’ service in Devon.

They were all amongst the heads invited to a special garden party and buffet supper in Exeter.

Mr McInnes said you could feel the energy in a school when you walked in and that was down to the staff and in particular the leadership.

“Devon has a lot to be proud of – particularly in its education service,” he said.

“My sincere thanks go to you all on behalf of Devon County Council and the children of Devon for all the work you have done and the results you have achieved despite the low national funding of our schools.”

He said he wished those who were retiring a long and happy retirement and every success to those who were moving on to new ventures.

Dr Norrey said he wanted to thank the heads on behalf of the thousands of children who had passed through their care over the years.

“It is heads and teachers in schools who make a difference and you can look back with pride on a job well done,” he said.

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Posted in: Education