A VILLAGE school headteacher is saying an emotional farewell to the community he loves.
Michael Clark leaves his role as headteacher at Roydon Primary Academy, in Roydon, this summer after four years at the helm.
He takes up post as deputy head of primary at the School of Research Science in Dubai, looking after more than 1,500 pupils, in August.
While he is excited to start a new chapter with his family, he is sad to be leaving the Roydon community behind.
He said: “I have mixed emotions about moving on; I am genuinely sad to leave. I have fallen in love with Roydon; you can’t not. If you have been to Roydon, it’s impossible to not fall in love with the school.
“I like a challenge and when an opportunity like this turns up, I cannot turn it down. I tell the children to be the best they can be and to take every opportunity. This is one of those moments and as much as I love Roydon, Dubai popped up and it’s such an opportunity for me and my family to experience a different culture and to challenge ourselves.”
As he reaches the end of his final year at Roydon, Mr Clark is looking back on his team’s achievements.
He said: “As head, when you start at a school you want to make sure you leave it in a better place than where you found it. There is no question that Roydon is a much better educational setting now than it was. The school has come a long way; the staff are happy and the children are safe and get a much better standard of education. Children are happy to come to school and are proud of their school. That is what I am most proud of.
“I am immensely proud of everything we have achieved together in the last four years. The staff have done everything I have ever asked of them – and more – and I have asked a lot. They are a real asset to the school and really care about the place.”
Mr Clark, who is also parent to two Roydon pupils, is proud of the links the school has with its neighbourhood, with relationships with the local church and businesses.
He is also pleased to have been able to transform the ageing school building and said: “When I took over, the building looked its 140 years and appeared unloved. We have added new buildings, new wifi, fire alarms, painted the whole school, added security gates, renovated toilets, added an adventure trail and Daily Mile track. We also created a very impressive library and had amazing murals spray painted around the school – we have really taken care of the old girl. The school site is now just as impressive as what happens inside the classrooms.”
With the Coronavirus crisis having forced many aspects of life to move online, Mr Clark feels it will be easier than ever to keep in contact with his Roydon friends.
He said: “When you think that during the partial closure staff have been delivering and marking work for all children and we are all now used to this virtual world, the world seems a lot smaller which makes it easier to stay in contact.
“Everyone has risen to the challenges the crisis has brought. The children have worked incredibly hard. Everyone can go on their summer break and be proud of what they have done.
“This is the strength of a school community; it’s a great example of when things happen unexpectedly, our community responds really well. Roydon is a school that I love and will always hold a special place in my heart. I look forward to hearing about all the staff and children’s future successes.”
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