Life will be a little quieter for retiring Keswick headteacher
Last updated at 21:25, Thursday, 19 July 2012
Keswick School headteacher Mike Chapman has seen many highs and lows in 16 years, but as he begins his retirement it is the hundreds of conversations he had each day that he will miss most.
The 60-year-old spent his last day at school yesterday, ready for deputy head Simon Jackson to take over in September.
After returning to the school for A-level and GCSE results days, he plans to take some trips around the world, returning to his original love of biology.
He said: “I’ll go to the Arctic and Africa and spend some time in Australia playing with the kangaroos – something completely different.
“In this job you sit on top of this pedestal and people throw things at you. It’s about time I have some fun, I think.”
It will be a complete change from the school routine, which could see Mr Chapman talk to about 60 adults plus 500 to 600 children in a working day.
He said: “I could have 700 conversations a day. If you have got 700 little stories a day it makes it very interesting.
“Now I’m going to be speaking to my wife who is terrified by the whole idea.”
Mr Chapman took up his post in January 1996 after moving from Somerset.
A high point came in 1998 when the Queen visited to officially open the extended school building at Vicarage Hill.
Other achievements, from becoming a specialist school to its designation as an academy last year, all have a place in Mr Chapman’s memory, but his main focus has been working to maintain the school’s success.
He said: “You are only as good as your previous results and your previous intake.
“If you’re successful, as I think the school has mainly been, you have got to stay there.”
There have been challenging times, too, and the A66 bus crash in 2010, in which two pupils died, was the worst.
Mr Chapman said: “That was a terrible thing that no head wants.
“We have still got children who were injured in the school and some who were on the bus who are still being counselled.”
The best part of his teaching career has been watching his pupils develop, he said.
He added: “They spend their life falling over and being propped back up again. It’s a hell of a journey.
“It’s about wandering the corridor and watching a struggling kid making progress.”
Despite living down the road in Threlkeld, Mr Chapman, whose daughter Vicki Smyllie teaches at Westfield Primary School in Workington, said he would not return to the school unless invited in the future.
He said: “I wish my successor well and wish the school well for next year.
“I’d like to thank the staff, governors, parents and children I have worked with over the years.
“The school’s success is only possible if these people help.”
First published at 19:20, Thursday, 19 July 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
As the proud father of three children who have been educared at Keswick School, I would like to thank Mike Chapman for the high standards he has set and maintained at his school. I would like to wish him every happiness and a long and healthy retirement and thank him for all that he and his school have done for my children.
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