Sat, 25 Jul 2020
A Newbury headteacher has bid a fond farewell to his school this summer, saying his time there has been a “joy and a privilege”.
Derek Peaple, one of the longest serving headteachers in West Berkshire, will officially hand over the reins of Park House School at the end of August, after more than 17 years in the role.
He said he had been surprised by a “wonderful” send off, despite the lockdown meaning his retirement was not quite as he would have expected.
“I was genuinely surprised on Thursday when I was taken in to the drama studio and a Zoom call was being projected onto a massive screen with all the staff and some former students.
“The virtual choir [made up of ex-students and teachers] sang Bring on Tomorrow and there were some lovely messages.
“It was truly magical and one positive to come out of all of this is that I get to keep those lovely memories as it was all recorded. I have that forever now.
“It has been a joy and a privilege to serve this community. The amazing young people, and adults, that I have met has been brilliant. The whole time, from start to finish, has been a truly special experience.”
The history graduate, who has been a teacher for 33 years, said he was delighted to have been given the opportunity to work at Park House, having first visited the school as a schoolboy.
“I went to Little Heath School and was a member of Reading Athletics Club,” he said. “I won the Berkshire cross country title as a 14-year-old at Park House School so the place has always been part of my heart.
“I have very, very special memories of this school.”
During his time as head of the Andover Road school Mr Peaple has welcomed royalty, Olympians and a whole host of world class rugby players to Park House and championed the Olympic legacy after London 2012.
But retirement does not be sitting back and relaxing. Mr Peaple has promised that he will still be working hard on educational matters across the area, with a number of projects now in the pipeline.
“I am going to be working with a company on education technology, developing resources,” he explained. “I am also working with another company ensuring young people's online safety.”
And with teacher development projects and resource development for teachers abroad, as well work with a virtual museum for sport, Mr Peaple will certainly have lots to keep him busy.
“I am delighted to still be in the local area,” he said. “Working from home but supporting different schools, locally, as well as nationally and internationally.
“I have got to feel very much part of the local area and community is so important, especially at the moment.”
Tom Goodenough will take over as headteacher at Park House School from September 1.