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The ‘Goodbye to all that!” Letter

Posted on 19th December 2016

Goodbye to all that!

This will be the last letter which I will write to you. After 21 years as Headmaster of Caistor Grammar School (and 24 years and a term as a teacher at Caistor Grammar School) I will be retiring on Tuesday 20th December. It has been a huge privilege and enormous pleasure to work in this marvellous institution and I am enormously proud of all that the students and staff of the School have achieved over these several years. I believe that as I retire the School is in very good heart and that the prospects for the School going forward are outstandingly good. I am delighted by the appointment of Mr Alistair Hopkins as my successor and feel that he will be an outstanding Headmaster for our School. I am also thrilled by the starts which my colleagues in the SLT with new positions have made: Mrs Shona Buck as Deputy Head and Mr Marcus Croft as Director of Studies. The other members of the SLT, Mr Colin Sunter and Mr Terry McTernan, as Assistant Heads, with support from Mrs Julie Wolseley as Senior Teacher, continue to do sterling work and together they make up an exceptional team of senior staff for our school. I would like to add that I believe our teaching staff and non-teaching staff are also tremendously strong: very dedicated, very talented and very hard-working. Together they provide a brilliant service to the students and parents of our community and I think we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

I am delighted by, and in awe of, the commitment and ambition of and achievement of the student body of Caistor Grammar School. I am thrilled by the pride that they show in their School; by their desire to play a full part in our community and by their determination that they should ensure that it continues to thrive. You, their parents, can be very proud of them! I would also like to pay tribute to you, the parents of Caistor Grammar School’s students, who give so much to make us a better School. This is shown in a whole host of ways: attendance at Parents’ Evenings, support at School events and in the general encouragement and admonishment (where necessary) of your sons and daughters. The Friends of Caistor Grammar School is another way in which many parents choose to serve and support the School and their work is extremely important to us and is greatly appreciated.

Throughout my time at Caistor Grammar School, the excellence of the governance of the School has been a particular feature and signature hallmark of our work. When I arrived at the School in 1992, the Governors had just made the momentous decision for us to become a Grant Maintained School and as such, they set about developing policies and procedures to cover all manner of issues linked to its activities. The Governing Body have given up a huge numbers of evenings at many, many meetings to help steer the School through difficult financial times and any number of other issues. We have sailed safely through the choppy waters of Foundation Status and now have become an Academy, with even more responsibility for running our own affairs. The Governors continue to operate with distinction and I think our whole community owes them a great deal of appreciation for this.

I want my last paragraph to you to be the same one which was written for a speech made to the last Full Governors’ meeting of my Headmastership. In the preceding paragraph, I had talked about my three Chairs of Governors: Russell Orr, Lindsay Fell and John Colley and long-serving Vice Chair of Governors, Lucy Jackson. They are the four estimable people who are mentioned in the opening words of this paragraph. As I was delivering the speech, my emotions overtook me and I faltered as I got to the last sentence. This is not really that surprising since Caistor Grammar School means a lot to me and I imagine that I will falter again before I retire. At that point, our Chair of Governors, John Colley, intervened and finished the final sentence for me. I was very grateful to him for this and it seems characteristic of the way our School operates. So here is that last paragraph:

“All that time, all that effort by all of these four estimable people, and from all of you too, has been time very well spent. Caistor Grammar School is a worthy cause; it is a cause well worth fighting for! It is a modest place, not arrogant or pushy. It welcomes all with a friendly embrace. It offers to all the chance to grow through sharing with a generous, open-hearted spirit. Its gospel is the gospel of hard work and honest effort happily given. It is a homespun community where remarkable things have been achieved and where they will continue to be achieved in the years to come.”

With very best wishes

Yours sincerely