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Retiring head of Helston College looks back at time in charge: INTERVIEW
6:00am Wednesday 16th July 2014 in News
The headteacher of Helston Community College has looked back on his time in charge as he prepares to leave the school after 11 years.
Dr Pat McGovern is standing down as head to take up a new role in September, coaching and mentoring headteachers and developing aspiring heads.
He said: “It's been an enormous privilege to have had the opportunity to lead this college for 11 years. It's been an awesome responsibility, but also a great opportunity. I have just thoroughly enjoyed it.
“I'm so grateful to the governors back in 2003 for choosing me for this post and putting their trust in me to lead the college.
“I can't think of any career I'd rather have done.”
He said the hardest part of the past few weeks had been “letting go.”
“You put so much of your heart and soul into a school, it becomes so much a part you, so it's almost like a bereavement,” he explained.
“I shall leave a big part of my heart in Helston. This has been a great college to be head of. It's got a long, long history and tradition of education in Helston.”
Dr McGovern said he would “miss enormously” working with the students and leading a team of staff, adding: “I'll miss the daily challenge of not knowing what comes through that door.
“Being a headteacher is a really complex roll - it's the best job in education, I can say that without a shadow of a doubt.
“What I'll miss most are the people I've had the privilege to work with.
In particular he praised his “outstanding” PA Michele Swan, joking: “Everyone knows she runs the school really, I just help out!”
He said he would also miss the governors, adding: “But I think it is time to move on. I think any organisation needs to change its leadership periodically to bring fresh ideas and new perspectives.”
He will be replaced by Donna Bryant, current head of Liskeard School and Community College.
Dr McGovern said: “She will pick up the baton and take it on to even greater heights.
“We each exercise stewardship for a short period of time and that's a great privilege; then we have to hand it over.”
His one disappointment is that he has been unable to the rebuilding on the college's C-Block during his time in charge, saying: “Of all the projects that I've had an opportunity to work on, it would be true to say the building has been the most frustrating.
“I truly believe that I did all I could have done - we followed up every possible lead, we knocked on every door, we pursued every opportunity.”
Twice the school was a matter of weeks or days from signing contracts, which then fell through, but he hopes that a possible future hope, the government's Priority Schools Building Programme, will be third time lucky.
“Let's just hope and pray that this time it all works out, because Helston deserves a building fit for purpose and a building that will serve the needs of children and young people and families in this lovely town.”
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