A message from the governors
Back in 1998 when the Governing Body appointed David Edwards as the Head of Humphrey Perkins they were hoping for a few changes from the young, keen and enthusiastic newcomer with a great vision for the future of the school. Some 12 years later as the two of us, who have been chairs of governors with David look back, we can see that we have not been disappointed; David led the school boldly into the 21st century and there is much to show for his time with us!
So what has David achieved over this period?
Well first it must be recorded that David’s time at HP has seen excellent improvements in learning and teaching standards. When David came the school was good but through hard work and dedication from David and his staff over the years it is now verging on the brink of being outstanding - at least according to our School Improvement Officer. The next Ofsted inspection will hopefully confirm this.
Measurements of achievement have changed over the years with the demise SATs for 14 year-olds but David has recently overseen the introduction of GCSEs for some of the gifted and talented students in year 9 which will hopefully set the school in good stead for the move to 11 to 16 or 18.
One notable introduction was the Celebration Evening, an up-to-date version of Speech Day or Prize-giving with the emphasis on the celebration of success of the students. Of particular note was the Celebration in 2002 marking the centenary of the move of the school to its present site on Cotes Road. This was attended by many old scholars and was accompanied by the production of a book on the recent history of Humphrey Perkins. One of David’s particular areas of interest has been in the wellbeing of the students in his care. To this end he has been responsible for the development of some novel approaches to mentoring and the pastoral care of students but one of his greatest achievements in this context must be the changes to the catering provision at Humphrey Perkins.
David was responsible for taking the management and provision of catering in house with much improved, healthy menus with increased uptake by the students, long before the Jamie Oliver effect. Moreover, this increased uptake has been sustained and the restaurant continues to thrive.
Early on in his time at Humphreys David introduced the position of School Manager and this has had a big impact on the running of the school. Caretaking has been revolutionised and cleaning contracts taken in house. Over the years we have had problems with lack of central funding but David has always been prepared, with governor’s backing, to stand up to the Local Authority and has been highly respected by the officers at County Hall.
Two of the most recent achievements are the building of the Sports Hall and the gaining of Specialist Arts College status. Whilst the former has not been without its problems, the latter has led to some really great changes in what Humphrey Perkins is able to offer the school and local community. David’s own keen interest and talent as a musician has underpinned much of the arts development which has, of course, seen some much needed injection of extra cash leading to improved facilities, notably the refurbishment of the old gym as an Arts Theatre and the redecoration and equipping of the main hall.
It hasn’t always been an easy path to tread and David has often had his work cut out to persuade those around him to follow his lead but this is often the case with good leadership. Some times we have had to encourage and coax David often using the phrase “well, David it is up to you to manage the situation” but manage he has and Humphrey Perkins is all the better for his management verging, as we have already indicated, on the brink of becoming outstanding.
No account of David’s time at HP would be complete without a mention of Penny Chatwin, first Deputy, who David appointed and who has steadfastly supported David for most of his time at HP. So many, many thanks too to Penny.
David has decided to retire at this time to allow someone else to take over the reins to see Humphrey Perkins move, most probably, to become an 11-16 school. So there have been some exciting developments over the last 12 years and there will, no doubt be more to come in the future.
It remains for us to thank David on behalf of everybody at the school for all that he has contributed to the life of Humphrey Perkins and for the honour and pleasure of working with him over this time. We have enjoyed being your “critical friend” over the last few years and may we take this opportunity, on behalf of not only the Governing Body but of everyone involved at Humphrey Perkins, to wish you all the best in your retirement.
Mike Neale and Brian Tetley
Is 70 years together a record?
On 23 March 2010 Iris and Jack Green celebrated 70 years of marriage - a Platinum anniversary. Iris and Jack were married at Holy Trinity Church in the spring of 1940. It was a wartime romance. Is there another couple in Barrow who have enjoyed married life for this long, or even longer? Barrow Voice would be pleased to hear from you.