Exams, school meals and Ofsted – Retiring Mendip Green headteacher Bruce Dale looks back on 37 years of memories

PUBLISHED: 19:00 12 July 2017

Bruce Dale wearing ties designed by the Mendip Green Primary School pupils.

Bruce Dale wearing ties designed by the Mendip Green Primary School pupils.

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A headteacher who is retiring after nearly four decades in schools says he feels positive about the future of education.

Where's Wally? The whole school dressed up as the famous book character on World Book Day.Where's Wally? The whole school dressed up as the famous book character on World Book Day.

Bruce Dale, who has been headteacher at Mendip Green Primary School since 1998, is retiring after an education career spanning 37 years.

He joined the school, in Greenwood Road, Worle, as deputy headteacher in 1993 following stints in both secondary and primary schools.

Mr Dale said the biggest changes in education have come in how many children there are in classrooms and with funding.

He said: “There has been more money for children since I first started, although some would not say that. But when I started there was nothing like pupil premium or extra money put in for one-to-one provision.”

Award-winning head chef Steve Fowell with pupils learning about healthy eating. The school was one of the first to bring in its own chefs.Award-winning head chef Steve Fowell with pupils learning about healthy eating. The school was one of the first to bring in its own chefs.

His Mendip Green highlights include the school breakfast club, which was one of the first set up in the Weston-super-Mare area.

Along with Ashcombe Primary School, Mendip Green was also one of the first in North Somerset to follow celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s advice and improve school meals.

The school ditched the catering company, and brought in its own chefs to dish up nutritious meals.

Mr Dale said: “We realised we were spending so little on a child’s meal and it was all going to the caterers. There was a lot of angst at the time, and the council didn’t like it much.

Pupils who competed in a carol competition at the end of 2016.Pupils who competed in a carol competition at the end of 2016.

“But we did it for the children and the governors were very supportive.”

Mr Dale’s concerns for the future centre around exams, and how there is too much testing, particularly for the youngest children, but he said he was supportive of the direction school watchdog Ofsted was going in.

Although it is not every headteacher’s favourite part of the job, Mr Dale said he was most proud of the school’s Ofsted reports.

He said: “We have had nine at the school during my time, and they have always been lovely and we have always welcomed Ofsted.”

Deputy headteacher James Oakley will take over in September, and Mr Dale said he wishes him luck.

He added: “I will miss the children the most, and the banter with the staff and parents. The PTA and governors have been amazing too and I hope to be invited back.”

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