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Mr Porteous: Letter to Parents

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Dear students and parents

May I take this opportunity to thank you for all the support and encouragement that you have offered to me over recent years. It has been an absolute privilege and pleasure to work with you and I am genuinely sad to announce my retirement as Headteacher of this wonderful school community.

I have worked here for seventeen years, ten as your Headteacher this Christmas, and so it is no doubt the right time to move on and face new challenges. There is much to do if we wish to preserve an education system in which we can all share and of which we can all be proud. I am determined to play my part in that cause.

Turton is a very hard place to leave. It represents the very best of school communities, with charming students full of character, potential, and great compassion. Turton parents have always been supportive, interested and proactive and have helped us to improve everything we do as the years have gone by. I will always be grateful for your encouragement and every success the school has achieved has been a result of our strong partnership.

I must put on record my deep appreciation of the unstintingly loyal support I have received from our staff who have shared the same deep commitment to the care and achievement of all our students. They are the most dedicated, nurturing and caring team of professionals any headteacher could have wished to work with.

Behind the scenes, I have received equally loyal support from our Governing body who cherish and care for this school and this community in a totally selfless and admirable way.

This has been a record year of success for Turton. Our achievements at both GCSE and A level are a huge credit to students, staff and parents alike. We have seen significant improvements at a time when other schools locally and nationally have seen results plateau and fall. This has not been achieved without a massive effort from everyone at Turton and I pay tribute to you all for your talent, commitment and sheer hard work.

It matters greatly to me that Turton continues to thrive but especially that it continues to put care for children’s well-being, creativity and happiness first among all its priorities. As we have proved, academic success will follow if we stick to these principles. Even OFSTED recognised us as one of the top twelve schools in the country for safeguarding students’ welfare and we must never lose this priority in the current climate of obsession with data and statistical progress, where children matter more for the scores they achieve than for the people they are.

While we are pleased to note this year’s achievements, we only look back in order to learn from experience. Our focus is on the future and how we can be better in all that we offer next year and the year after that.

It is for these reasons that Chair of Governors, Owen Hughes and I are delighted to confirm that my pastoral deputy, Sam Gorse will be Acting Headteacher from January 2015 for the remainder of this academic year. I could not be leaving the school in safer hands and I know Sam will steer Turton to even greater achievements next year and beyond. She and her Leadership colleagues are the most able and caring people you could wish to have running your school. Interviews for the permanent post will take place in February 2015.

As you will be aware, the school has recently experienced great sadness with the loss of a much loved student who was an inspiration to us all for her courage and resilience and positive attitude to life. We mourned the passing of another popular student in the week that I became Headteacher ten years ago. Then, as now, Turton showed what a fantastic caring family community it is. We celebrate together all our achievements and we support each other at times of sadness and loss. It has been a privilege to be part of such a great family. I will miss you all and I will always look forward to hearing of your many future adventures and achievements.

I have given you many thoughts and sayings over the years, most of which I am sure are long forgotten. The simplest and best advice I could leave you with comes from this afternoon’s service for Emma.

“Think good thoughts, speak good words and do good deeds.” Add to that the Dalai Lama’s pledge, “be kind whenever possible; it is always possible” and you will never go far wrong.

With thanks and every best wish for the future.

John Porteous,