Terry Boatwright has bid a final farewell to Bishop Bell as he prepares to begin his retirement after 18 years at the helm of the school.
The executive headteacher stepped down at the end of the summer term after turning the school around to make it one of the most popular and high-achieving schools in the country, despite a series of high-profile controversies.
Mr Boatwright took over as headteacher in January 1996 when the school was struggling, undersubscribed and OFSTED described it as having ‘serious weaknesses’.
Now, the school has 1,040 pupils - double the number it did in 1996 - and is the only school in England where examination results have improved for 14 consecutive years. In its latest OFSTED inspection in May 2014, the school was rated as ‘good’ in every category.
On announcing his retirement back in January, Mr Boatwright said, “In 1996, I believed two things when I took up the headship: firstly, that God had called me here and secondly, that He had great plans for the school. Eighteen years on, I remain convinced I was called here and know that, despite some very difficult times recently, we have all seen the great things which God has done here. As I announce my retirement, I am convinced again of two things: firstly, that God has called me to do this and secondly, that He has even more amazing things planned for the future of this school.”
Mr Boatwright was shortlisted for the National Leadership Trust Teaching Award for School Leadership in 2002, 2005 and 2006 and in March 2012, the National College for Teaching and Leadership, appointed him as a National Leader of Education to join a group of headteachers used by the Government to raise educational standards across the country.