North Devon headteachers retire after a century in the classroom

David Fitzsimmons, Phil Norrey, Karen Rogers, Dawn Stabb, Garry Reed, James McInnes and Sandy Brown.
David Fitzsimmons, Phil Norrey, Karen Rogers, Dawn Stabb, Garry Reed, James McInnes and Sandy Brown.

Swimbridge, Woolacombe, Lampard and Holsworthy headteachers have more than 100 years of service between them

A quartet of North Devon headteachers have retired after more than 100 years of serving their schools.

Among the veterans of the teaching community is Garry Reed. After serving as head at the very successful Swimbridge Primary School for a staggering 35 years, he finally retired at Christmas.

Mr Reed’s time spent as head at Swimbridge makes him not only the longest-serving headteacher in Devon but, almost certainly, the longest nationally according to National Association of Headteachers records.

Mr Reed, who taught for a total of 44 years, said he had found his entire career very enjoyable and it was wonderful to be paid for something he found so rewarding.

He said: “I was very fortunate to have such motivated children and to work with such enthusiastic staff.

“There was never a day I didn’t look forward to going to school. I would recommend teaching to anyone not quite sure what to do with their life.”

Also retiring after 33 years is Sandy Brown, executive head of the South West Schools Federation of Woolacombe, Combe Martin and Bampton.

North Devon head Karen Rogers is leaving Lampard Community School after 23 years of service and David Fitzsimmons has retired from Holsworthy College after 14 years.

All attended a special event in Exeter, held by Devon County Council, to mark the retirement of 10 headteachers across the county who between them have served almost 300 years.

The celebration was hosted by cabinet member for schools James McInnes, chief executive Phil Norrey and head of education Dawn Stabb.

Mr McInnes said you could ‘feel the energy in a school when you walked in’ and that was down to the staff and in particular the leadership.

“Devon has a lot to be proud of – particularly in its education service,” he said.

“My sincere thanks go to you all on behalf of Devon County Council and the children of Devon for all the work you have done and the results you have achieved despite the low national funding of our schools.”

Dr Norrey said he wanted to thank the heads on behalf of all the children who had passed through their care over the years: “It is heads and teachers in schools who make a difference and you can look back with pride on a job well done.”


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