Post People: Headteacher retires after 27 years at Dagenham school
PUBLISHED: 10:43 24 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:57 24 July 2017
Headteacher Sir Paul Grant, 60, looks back over 27 years at Robert Clack School after saying goodbye to his pupils on Thursday, July 20, ahead of his retirement on Thursday, August 31.
“The people and the challenges their circumstances present them are very similar so I felt at home right away. I was able to slot right in and I got on with the local community from day one.
“Both Bootle and Dagenham share a troubled economic past due to their reliance on Ford and communities in both areas had a difficult time when that major employer scaled its operations down.
“When I arrived in Dagenham it was clear that educational attainment was a problem because people had relied on being able to go straight into work at the Ford factory. The issues I’d grown up seeing in terms of employemnt were huge and I was determined to help pupils and parents see how much education matters.
“I became headteacher in 1997 after a councillor approached me and told me the community wanted me to apply for the position.
“I was up against two other headteachers and four deputy heads so I was shocked when I was appointed after submitting my application in the final hour before the deadline.
“I hadn’t thought about applying until then but I realised how important the position was and it was a fantastic honour to take it on.
“The school was in a terrible state when I became headteacher but since then we’ve more than tripled the number of support staff we have and doubled the amount of teachers.
“Robert Clack has a national and international reputation and I’m really pleased local people have a school like this, especially because so many people put Dagenham down.
“Saying goodbye to pupils, teachers and people I’ve worked with at the council was very emotional because I really love and respect them all.
“I leave with really positive memories of them all and I’m sure they have them of me too.”