Headteacher says it has been ‘an honour and a privilege’ to lead high-performing school

PUBLISHED: 17:30 20 July 2017

Chris Richardson retires from Kings Of Wessex Academy, in Station Road, Cheddar.

Chris Richardson retires from Kings Of Wessex Academy, in Station Road, Cheddar.

Archant

A retiring headteacher has said there will be challenges ahead for education but feels positive about the future.

Chris Richardson, who has been the headteacher of Kings Of Wessex Academy for almost 23 years, will be retiring at the end of this academic year.

Mr Richardson, aged 58, started at the academy, in Station Road, Cheddar, in January 1995 after moving from Leicester where he worked as a deputy headteacher.

The school has gone from strength to strength under Mr Richardson’s leadership.

The site has been refurbished with new classrooms and the village’s old leisure centre has been transformed into an up-to-date, quality centre for the community.

It has also set up its own trust – the Wessex Learning Trust – to help young people transition from age two to 19.

Mr Richardson told the Mercury: “I think reflecting back it has been an honour and a privilege to have led Kings over so many years and it is an amazing school.

“The belief that our young people can succeed runs through our school very much like a stick of rock.”

The school has also seen positive exam results year-on-year, placing it among the best in the country.

Mr Richardson said: “I am very proud of the fact that only last year we had a letter from the Secretary of State congratulating us for being in the top six per cent of schools in the country for the progress our children made.

“It is about children’s lives and their future and if they can come here and make really good progress then it sets them up for life.”

Mr Richardson said one of the biggest challenges facing schools is the cuts to budget and the ongoing demand for teachers.

He said: “I have been in the job long enough to know that change is a feature of the profession.

“Change is not anything new and the job of a school leader is to navigate your way through that change and ensure your children get the very best deal out of it.

“We have lobbied hard because, in rural areas like this, they have historically been badly funded and the fact that, in real terms, the funding has not kept pace with the cost pressures.”

Mr Richardson will be succeeded by Frome principal Gavin Ball, who will start in September.

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