Paston College vice principal retires

Paston College vice principal Nigel Belfield, centre, is retiring and handing over the role to Sandr

Paston College vice principal Nigel Belfield, centre, is retiring and handing over the role to Sandra Emerson. Both pictured with college principal Kevin Grieve. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A-level results day this year was especially poignant for vice principal Nigel Belfield who is retiring after 31 years at Paston College, North Walsham.

Watching students read their results and giving advice where needed was Mr Belfield's last 'official' duty before heading off on holiday and into retirement.

Now 61, he joined the college as an economics and geography teacher in 1985, one year after it was formed from the merger of the Paston School and North Walsham High School for Girls.

'In some ways it's changed very little over the years,' said Mr Belfield.

'There's always been a good relationship between students and staff but in the early days no-one was really bothered about exam results.

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'It was a different world. No-one asked if you were teaching the right things for the syllabus. You were left completely on your own.

'Now it's all exam driven and in some ways that's a retrograde step. It makes it so prescriptive.'

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Paston College has been a large part of Mr Belfield's family life too.

His wife, Linda Gosling-Belfield, is the college librarian and will continue in that role.

And daughter Freyja was a student at Paston four years ago. She studied architecture at university and now works with Sheringham architects' firm Stead Mutton Griggs.

Mr Belfield, who lives in Alby, between Aylsham and Cromer, will be doing some work with PiXl, a national schools partnership which works to achieve the highest outcomes for students and to improve their life chances. But he is also hoping to find more leisure time for cycling.

Kevin Grieve, Paston principal, said Mr Belfield would be missed.

He added: 'Nigel has incredible strength and he is so experienced as well.'

He will be succeeded as vice principal by Sandra Emerson.

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