Off with the head! Helston College headteacher bows out after 11 years

Falmouth Packet: Helston College headteacher bows out after 11 years Helston College headteacher bows out after 11 years

HELSTON Community College’s headteacher Dr Pat McGovern is to step down from his post in the summer.

The Packet can exclusively reveal that Dr McGovern is to leave teaching after four decades, but will begin a new advisory role in the county with a newly formed organisation.

While limited in the amount of information he is allowed to release at this stage, Dr McGovern told the paper on Monday: “It’s a role in school improvement – training, coaching and mentoring new and aspiring headteachers and working with schools experiencing difficulties.”

More details will be announced in due course.

He believed the time was now right for a new challenge, with 2014 marking his 40th year in education and his 11th year as head of Helston Community College.

“Having completed 11 years I think the time is right for a new headteacher to pick up the baton and take the school on to even greater things.

“I would like to thank staff, students, governors and parents for all their support over the last 11 years. I hope there will be an opportunity to say more at a later stage.”

Staff were informed of his decision last Friday, with a letter going out to parents. His last day in post will be August 31.

Dr McGovern, 61, began his career in London, where he grew up, teaching at a remand home in Hammersmith – something he described as “a baptism of fire.”

A 12-year post in Wiltshire followed, before he was approached by the local authority to take up an advisory teacher role. During this time he gained his Masters degree and subsequently a PHD at the University of Bath.

His arrival in Cornwall came in 1988 when he was appointed deputy head of Bodmnin Community College, where he worked under the “inspirational” leadership of headteacher John Evans until 1991, when Dr McGovern took on his first headship, at Penair School in Truro.

That was followed in 1997 by an appointment as assistant principal and Dean of the Faculty of Education, Sport and Technology at the College of St Mark and St John, Plymouth and a post of chief education advisor for Plymouth City Council.

His return into full time education came in September 2003, when he took over the leadership of Helston Community College.

Dr McGovern said: “I’ve absolutely loved being head of this school; it’s a wonderful school, with delightful students who are well mannered and polite. Of the 1,600 students in the college a very small number are a handful. The vast majority are amongst the nicest people you would ever hope to meet.

“Staff have been superb and a real pleasure to work with, and are deeply committed to wanting the best for their students.

“I will leave a large part of my heart in Helston.”

He added that he had “thoroughly enjoyed” serving its young people, families and the community, describing the honour of walking in front of the children’s dance on Flora Day as “one of the highlights of my whole career.”

During his time at the school he has overseen it through three Ofsted inspections, seen the number of students achieving university places grow – including to Oxbridge and Russell Group (a group of 24 leading UK universities) – and helped others into apprenticeships and further education colleges.

Dr McGovern described himself as “immensely proud” of the college’s music, drama, art and sport, together with its “whole ethos” – something Ofsted inspectors commented on in their report towards the end of last year.

“I will be very sorry to retire from teaching and leadership, but I’m looking forward to a new role, which may involve continuing to work with the college and the county, but in a different respect,” he concluded.

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