It’s not every day that you get a chance to write your own obituary, or at least that’s what it feels like.
I write to introduce myself as the new Head of Abbotsholme School: your school. I was educated at Arnold School, Blackpool where I attended as a boarder from 1966-1977 before going on to study a Joint Honours degree in Physical Education and Sports Science and History at Loughborough University. It was here that I also successfully completed my PGCE before taking up a post at the Royal Grammar School, Colchester, as a boarder master and PE teacher. Eight years later, I moved to Devon with my wife and two boys to the place where I had been appointed as Head of PE and Games. Something of a ‘Mr Chips’ career followed, and from 1989 to 2013, I experienced life at Shebbear College as a member of the SMT, Head of Boarding, Timetabler, Examinations Officer, Deputy Head and then Headteacher. All of this was in addition to being a PE, Psychology and History teacher.
I retired, as planned, at 55 with the intention of travelling, playing more golf and actively enjoying ‘me’ time: it was a slightly unrealistic plan! Within the year I started to help with the recruitment of overseas pupils, and shortly afterwards was asked by the Methodist Schools to help mentor a young Head at a local prep school. More recently, I have acted as Programme Director for Oxford Royale, running three two-week residential courses for 185 students aged 13-15 who were housed in the halls of residence at Oxford University. Then, in late October, I received a phone call………..and the rest, as they say, is history.
I have yet to visit any of the surrounding area since arriving at Abbotsholme, but do know the inside of my office very well. To say it’s been a whirlwind is probably true. Normally this would bring connotations of impending doom and disaster, but that would be misrepresenting this great school with a big heart. I have been most impressed by the warmth and courtesy that has been extended to me by all whom I have met, particularly the pupils, parents and staff, and I have been treated to some wonderful moments during this past month not least Bonfire Night, Congo singing in school, the 6th Form Formal Dinner and ‘Christmas at Abbotsholme’.
I am already looking forward to what lies ahead, and wish you all a Happy Christmas.