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Letter to Parents about our retiring Headmaster, Mr Roger Hale

Posted on 20th December 2016

19th December 2016

Dear Parents

As Chair of Governors, I wrote to you back in January to advise you of Mr Hale’s decision to retire and the time has come to bid him farewell. As I look back on my time, both as a parent, and as a Governor of Caistor Grammar School, my overriding memory of Mr Hale will be of a strong and decisive leader who has been completely committed to, and passionate about, the fortunes of our School. We have been truly privileged to have such a Headmaster.

I know that it means a lot to Mr Hale that he leaves the School in a strong position and that Caistor Grammar School will continue to go from strength to strength. However, now is the time to remember the many remarkable things that have been achieved over the past 21 years and to recognise the outstanding contribution that he has made. There are very few professions that can genuinely influence lives. Teaching, when done well, is certainly one and as he looks back over his career, Mr Hale can be justifiably proud of the significant impact that he has made to the personal development of many thousands of our students.

I am sure that you will all want to join with me in thanking Mr Hale and to wish him a long and happy retirement, as we now recall a year in the life of Roger Hale as Headmaster at Caistor Grammar School.

Picture the scene. It is a cold January morning, and Mr Hale is preparing to go to a School Council meeting in M3. Throughout his time as Headmaster, he has been a champion of the student voice, and has always valued the input and opinions of the whole School community. Whether it is a lively debate on the uniform policy in a School Council meeting, or a thorough analysis of the annual student questionnaire with the Senior Prefect Team, Mr Hale has championed students, putting their needs at the top of the School’s agenda. It is a legacy that he should be extremely proud of, and which ties in with the personal comment he has made on every student’s termly assessment and report.

Jump forward to February, and Mr Hale is on the freezing streets of St. Petersburg. He is supporting a History Department visit to Russia, where the students are learning about the impact of the Russian Revolution, and the changes which took place in 1917. Throughout his time at school, Mr Hale has valued the role of educational trips and visits and has been keen to support them whenever he can. He has promoted learning beyond the classroom and the chance for students to expand their horizons both in the UK and beyond.

As we head into March, Mr Hale can be seen sitting in a central position in the Town Hall watching our House Plays. The House system, with its sporting and musical dimensions, has always been a passion of Mr Hale’s, and he has been keen to promote a sense of co-operation and comradeship amongst students from all age groups. There will be a quiet gap in the audience next year at all of these events and at the School Play, where last year there would have been thunderous applause and calls for ‘more!’

Stop for a moment, between April showers, and you might catch a glimpse of Mr Hale teaching his history class in P2, on the League of Nations. He has always been a teaching Headmaster, valuing the chance to inspire students, to help them pass their history examinations, and to be captivated by the subject. Few, if any, Heads have found the time in their busy schedules to teach or to meet with so many parents at every Parents’ Evening in the calendar. Mr Hale has always ensured that teaching has remained a central feature of his role, both in the classroom and in Staff Meetings. Many students will look back fondly at his lessons and remember them long after he has left.

As May approaches, and his Sixth Form Ball speech is in the early stages of being crafted, it is time for Mr Hale to turn his hand to the coming academic year, and to think about new School priorities. He has always had a strong and purposeful vision for the School, aiming to keep what is unique about Caistor Grammar School, and yet helping to adapt it to the modern world. He has ensured that we have kept abreast of curriculum changes, and also huge initiatives like the recent drive for more Academies. The School has thrived under his leadership and is left in a strong position to face whatever the future will hold.

In a quiet corner of a deserted abbey in June, Mr Hale can be found playing the role of a monk. He has always been keen to support the History trip to Conisbrough Castle and Roche Abbey, and has never been shy of throwing himself whole-heartedly into a School tradition. Whether it is the School walk, or Children in Need day, Mr Hale has taken a lively role in making School an enjoyable place for the students to be. This is something that all of us will remember.

As July brings its long, balmy summer evenings, we can make out Mr Hale at a Superzone fixture, supporting our students as they prepare to bring more sporting glory to the School. Mr Hale has been a champion of sport throughout his time here, and has been keen to promote extra-curricular success wherever he could. At Sports’ Day in the summer, we shall long remember him walking around the stadium and encouraging every student to give their best in the next event.

Whilst most people in the School are enjoying a well-deserved ice-cream or two, August is a crucial time for the Head. Results days at Caistor Grammar School are a frantic and important day for our students, and Mr Hale has always been here to offer support and advice to the students receiving their grades. He has also been at the forefront of promoting the School in the local press or in his role as a member of the Grammar School Heads Association, and ensuring that the School has had the recognition it deserves for its wonderful examination results.

September brings a highlight in the year for Mr Hale- Awards’ Evening. It is a chance to celebrate the results of the previous year, and to share in the achievements of the outgoing upper sixth especially. Mr Hale has invited a range of outstanding guest speakers, from Sporting greats to Holocaust survivors, tying in with the award given to him by the National Holocaust Centre this year for his support over the last two decades. The institution of Awards Evening is a great tradition that Mr Hale has been keen to cultivate and which has always been the place to inspire and motivate future student success.

As the heavy dew lifts on a cold late-October morning, Mr Hale can be seen writing his first assembly of the new half-term. The theme has been selected, and Mr Hale has always been keen to emphasise that anything is possible at the start of a term, encouraging students to put a fresh injection of effort into their studies. At the start of the year, he has always stepped up to the lectern to inspire a new generation of Year 7s, and his presence will be missed there. Assembly themes have always demonstrated the Headmaster’s clear focus, not just on examination results, but on the values and significance of being a good citizen and on kindness and compassion to others.

November sees Mr Hale step off the plane from his visit with the International Ambassadors to China and prepare himself for our annual Remembrance Service. It has been a theme of his Headship that Caistor Grammar School should reach out to other cultures, whether in Senegal, China or Europe, and to help support others, whilst developing our own students and expanding their horizons. Charity has also been a strong feature of his Headship, and the support for many School fundraising events has benefited many in our local community and beyond, something that they will not forget long after he has left us.

Finally, December sees Mr Hale in a Governors’ Meeting, late into a Monday evening. Tomorrow he will be supporting the Autumn concert, but today is all about the future of Caistor Grammar School. Leading the School strategically, ensuring that the books are balanced, and that the direction of the School has been in line with his vision, have been key features of Mr Hale’s time here. This commitment has made the School a centre of excellence, and is why he has been an outstanding leader. We thank you, and wish you the greatest luck, health and happiness in your retirement.

With best wishes for a Happy Christmas and for a prosperous New Year to students, staff and Governors at Caistor Grammar School.

Yours sincerely

John Colley    Chair of Governors
Shona Buck   Deputy Head
Colin Sunter    Assistant Head
Terry McTernan   Head of Sixth Form
Marcus Croft     Director of Studies