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Dereham school head moves on

PUBLISHED: 15:16 10 February 2009 | UPDATED: 14:59 07 July 2010

Leaving - John Smith.

Leaving - John Smith.

In the past 12 years he has seen hundreds of pupils walk through his Dereham school's gates, but now Northgate High headteacher John Smith has announced he is moving on to pastures new.

In the past 12 years he has seen hundreds of pupils walk through his Dereham school's gates, but now Northgate High headteacher John Smith has announced he is moving on to pastures new.

Mr Smith, who will leave at the end of the school year, said has he really enjoyed his time at Northgate, working with a superb team of teachers and non-teaching staff, and pupils who are a pleasure to teach.

He said: “I want to move on while I am still thoroughly enjoying the job. I think the school is in good shape and doing well, and in a very good position for somebody new to come in.”

During his time in charge Northgate has had two successful Ofsted inspections and in 2004 it was awarded specialist status for arts and humanities.

Mr Smith said one of the things he was most proud of was the school's positive ethos which has continued to be built on during his years at the school.

“If there is a legacy that I leave hopefully it will be that Northgate has a caring and supportive ethos that really lives up to the government's Every Child Matters initiative,” he said.

Mr Smith said he had lots of special memories of teaching at Northgate. Among them are when the Poet Laureate Andrew Motion and the school's pupil Poet Laureate Steven Wells appeared on stage together at the school, and when David Bellamy came to the school to celebrate Northgate becoming an eco-school.

He said other highlights have been the school's many productions and sporting successes, and watching pupils find out their grades on exam results day.

Mr Smith, who is married to Janet, 56, and has two children, Ruth, 22, and Joshua, 18, has been teaching for 36 years. He joined Northgate in September 1997 and before that he was deputy head at Hellesdon High for six years.

He has also been head of science at a school in Essex and head of chemistry at a school in Gloucester.

While Mr Smith, from Barford, is taking early retirement, he still plans to do part time A-level chemistry teaching at Dereham Sixth Form College and work as a school improvement partner with the local authorities.

“I'm looking forward to it, but I am also sad about leaving Northgate because I just love this place,” he said.

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