Norwich headteacher bids a fond farewell to ‘one of a kind’ school after nearly two decades

Simon Marfleet at the big top circus event to mark his departure. Simon Marfleet at the big top circus event to mark his departure.

Saturday, July 12, 2014
8:00 AM

A headteacher who waved an emotional goodbye to a Norwich school has admitted that retirement will leave a gap in his life.

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Thorpe House Langley Preparatory School head Simon Marfleet.; Photo by Simon FinlayThorpe House Langley Preparatory School head Simon Marfleet.; Photo by Simon Finlay

Simon Marfleet bid a fond farewell to the Thorpe House Langley Preparatory School yesterday, in Thorpe St Andrew, after more than a decade at its helm.

His departure was marked by a surprise day of circus entertainment - which saw the head have a pencil removed from his mouth by a flying juggling club.

After seven years as deputy head at its sister senior school in Loddon, the 59-year-old took over the top job in Norwich 12 years ago and guided it through its merger with Thorpe House all-girls’ school in 2010.

Mr Marfleet, who was born in Caister-on-Sea, said that the school, on Yarmouth Road, was “one of a kind”.

“There’s not another school like us in the area. I think there’s something unique about this school and the children and staff in it. We are very opening and welcoming, we don’t select our pupils and we often give pupils a chance that struggled elsewhere,” he said.

The Norfolk man, who now lives in Ditchingham, said that he would treasure fond memories of the pupils.

“There’s some children I will remember forever - some that have been amazingly successful. But there’s some that I will remember beacuse they spent a lot of time in my office and we talked about things.

“You develop relationships with them. We are not a big enough for me to be a head that dishes out instructions.

“I’m up there at sports day, I’m in covering lessons when a member of staff doesn’t turn up when they are ill, I’m out on the playground on duty,” he said.

Mr Marfleet’s passion for teaching began after he left the Navy - having studied Zoology and Psychology at Cardiff University, he ventured to Liverpool to complete his teacher training.

“The great thing is that it’s never boring. People say that you teach the same thing year after year - but it’s always different, the way the kids respond is always different and two lessons are never the same.”

Now, the Norfolk man aims to take a well-earned break with his wife Caroline, who has been married to for 29 years, his three kids and his favourite things - golf and sailing.

“It’s going to be a strange, there will be a gap in my life,” he said.

Do you have fond memories of Mr Marfleet? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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