Headteacher at Mellis Primary School retires after 23 years

Head teacher at Mellis Primary School, Richard Cattermole retires today.Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Head teacher at Mellis Primary School, Richard Cattermole retires today.Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The headteacher of a north Suffolk village school is set to retire after 23 years in the job to spend more time travelling and pursuing his interest in classic cars.

Richard Cattermole, 59, started at Mellis Primary School in January 1991 when the school had three classrooms and 59 pupils, but since then the number of pupils has increased to 171 in seven classes.

He has also overseen the expansion of the school's accommodation, including the construction of five additional classrooms, a new hall and in the last year, a specialist music room.

Mr Cattermole said he would miss the '171 cheery, smiley faces' who would run up and tell him 'everything about anything', as well as the 'wonderful' staff and governors.

He added: 'I feel contented about retiring, because I feel, together, we have achieved all our original objectives and a few bonus ones as well.

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'I am excited about the fact I will be able to be at home during the early to mid-evenings so I can have supper with the family. I will also have time to spend on my interests and hobbies, including my love of history.'

He qualified as a teacher in 1977 and started his career at John Bunyan Junior School in Braintree before taking a year out to do an MA at the UEA prior to moving to a school in Earls Colne in 1986.

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He lives with his wife Jaqui, who is also a teacher and has three children- Laura, 21, Ben, 18 and Eleanor, 14.

In 2008, the school was rated 'outstanding' in its Ofsted inspection and Mr Cattermole was confident the school had maintained that standard since then.

He added: 'There has always been something unique about Mellis children which cannot be easily summed up in a paragraph. Let it suffice to say they live up to the high expectations placed upon them in terms of behaviour, attitudes, work ethic, responsibility and courtesy thus allowing us to create an environment to allow these qualities to flourish.

'Above all, we have tried to create an environment where children are independent learners, self-motivated and want to succeed.'

He said he would still be involved in education, possibly through teaching or some advisory work, but was planning a holiday to Rome with his wife. He will be succeeded by Paul Ryle, the school's deputy headteacher.

Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Cattermole? Email dominic.bareham@archant.co.uk

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