Long-serving headteacher announces retirement from 'the best job in the world'
PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:18 25 January 2019
One of Norfolk's longest-serving headteachers has described leading a school as "the best job in the world" as he prepares to retire.
For Ian Clayton, 2019 marks 40 years in the teaching profession – including 21 as a headteacher and 18 as principal at Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form in Norwich.
He helped the school to achieve an “outstanding” Ofsted rating in 2014 and oversaw its conversion to an academy within the Yare Education Trust in 2016.
But the 62-year-old has decided this year will be his last, with August 31 his last day on the job.
Mr Clayton said: “The very best job in the world for me is being a principal of a school.
“It feels strange as there is still a lot to do but in making the decision now it means the trust can run a recruitment programme.
“I had no long-term plans to retire, but suddenly it felt like everything was coming together and this was the right decision.”
A letter to staff signed by Dr Linda Steynor, chair of the Yare Education Trust, said Mr Clayton had been “a source of strength and inspiration”.
She said: “Our school has developed in a multitude of positive and significant ways as a direct result of his vision. To him, and to all of you working under his guidance and leadership during those years, we owe the very high standing in which we are held by the local community and by Ofsted.”
Mr Clayton is confident about the school’s future despite “frustrations” such as budget pressures.
“The strength of Thorpe St Andrew is it has had the desire and confidence to do things its own way and not be pushed around by government policy. I think that is something that it is important for the school to retain: to do what is right for its students,” he said.
During his career Mr Clayton said he had gained “a huge richness of experience” through other jobs in the education sector in Norfolk, but that “it is time to pass that baton on to someone else”.
He is not disappearing from the education scene completely and will be taking up the post of chief executive of the Yare Education Trust in a part-time capacity.
He also plans to spend more time with his children, who live in Galway and Devon.