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Headteacher to retire next summer 15 October 2012

THE Headteacher of Peel Clothworkers’ School is to set aside his red marking pen in favour of new challenges.

Simon Jones will retire next summer after 31 years in teaching, 23 of them as a headteacher. Simon Jones

A Liverpudlian, Mr Jones trained as a teacher in Ambleside in the 1970s. After serving two years as an ambulance man with Lincolnshire Health Authority, he entered teaching in the county.

His first significant promotion was to the Liverpool school he attended as a child. Three of his former teachers became colleagues.

‘It took me half a term to stop calling them “Sir” or “Mrs Anderson”,’ he said.

In 1990, Mr Jones was appointed to the first of his three headships, back in Lincolnshire, where his two children grew up and were educated. Sarah is now a banking consultant and Philip is the manager of an independent cinema. This rural school remained the centre of his professional life for 15 years.

Mr Jones was then was appointed as a consultant headteacher by the English education department, supporting schools and new heads in Lincolnshire. At this time he completed his masters degree in primary school leadership and management.

The post of headteacher at Victoria Road Primary School in Castletown appealed and Mr Jones relocated here in 2005. Shortly afterwards, he took on the additional role of Leadership and Management Programme leader, training up the primary school managers of the future, a responsibility he still holds.

The bigger Peel Clothworkers’ Primary offered new challenges and he took over the headship in 2009. Highlights there have included working with the Parents, Teachers and Friends’ Association to create an adventure playground and a library, accompanying Year 6 children on the annual visit to Kingswood Adventure Centre in England, continuing to teach regularly, especially maths, reading and chess, and running the school with colleagues he describes as ‘amongst the best I have worked with’.

‘I estimate that, over the years, I have taught and/or influenced about 4,000 children – with only a few exceptions delightful individuals. This has been a pleasure and a privilege,’ he said.

In retirement, Mr Jones ‘learning plan’ includes acquiring at least one new skill a year ‘to add to my meagre collection’.

Having learned the piano and ballroom dancing, he plans to go surfing, take up yoga and write poetry. In 2013 he will climb Kilimanjaro and, a year later, will walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats with an old school friend, raising money for Oxfam.

Professionally, he is setting up as a freelance educational consultant and will offer his services both here and abroad.

‘I have a few more years before reaching my sell-by date,’ he observed.

Martin Barrow, Director of Education, said:

‘Mr Jones has contributed significantly to the development of the two schools he has been headteacher of on the Island and has played a key role in leading the Leadership and Management Programme for primary teachers. The Department wishes him every success for the new venture he has planned as well as for a long, healthy and happy retirement.’

The Department will advertise for Mr Jones’ successor shortly.

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