Monday 29th April is my last day at Rainhill and I finish my career in teaching. I cannot imagine a better job to have had. To be responsible for shaping the future, through education, of the next generation, has been an honour and privilege.
I have taught in six High Schools, in North Yorkshire, London, Liverpool and Leigh. They have served rural, inner city and suburban areas. They have served multi-cultural and mono-cultural communities. They have served affluent and poor parts of our country. What these schools have all got in common, are teenagers with a passion to learn, who we as teachers can mould, influence and help. High school pupils have universally been a pleasure to know. Teenagers make mistakes, they need the space to grow up, to find their niche in life; they need clear boundaries and expectations – at home and at school; they make good and
bad choices, but overall all high school students have been great to work with.
All the schools I have taught in have contained many first class teachers, Rainhill is no exception. Teaching is a tough job. It is often underestimated, not least by politicians. Teaching is difficult, subtle and exhausting. Term time is manic while teacher holidays (which are a big perk of the job) are always taken up with marking, preparation, revision sessions and trips. As a society, we need to give more help, status and thanks to teachers.
Support staff, are the unsung heroes that make every great school function. They do a myriad of important jobs, often unseen, without seeking any limelight.
I would make two changes to education. It needs to be funded properly and politicians need to stop any interfering. I arrived at Rainhill in 2004, having been a Head for 5 years at Westleigh High School. In 2004, Rainhill students were not getting the examination grades their talents deserved. The school needed a ‘big fix’. I hope Rainhill is a better school now. This improvement has not been down to one person. All people connected to the school have played their part and made a positive contribution to this success. This includes Trustees, Governors, senior and middle leaders, classroom teachers, support staff, parents and their children, our students.
It is important to me that every Rainhill student finds a niche at school where they can be successful. For me, their cultural or family background and educational ability does not matter. Everyone is part of the Rainhill family regardless. It is important that they leave Rainhill as ‘sound’, hard working people who treat everyone with respect and wanting to make a positive contribution to society.
Britain is not in great shape at the moment, with too many people seeking to blame others, and being divisive. I hope Rainhill students, as they become adults, do everything they can to bring the people together, and help make Britain a tolerant and outward looking country, where people can get to the top based on their talent, not their background.
I have tried to take decisions that have been best for the students. I have made mistakes, I apologise for when I have got things wrong. There have been good times and sad times, but when everyone pulls together Rainhill is an amazing place.
Without the support of all of our parents, my job would have been impossible. Thank you. Your children are a credit to you. I am excited for the future with a new job, which is completely different. I will miss working in this vibrant living community immensely.
I am excited for Rainhill High. It is a strong and stable school that has a great future ahead of itself.
Thank you for your support.