Headteacher retires after 30 years

THE HEADTEACHER of a primary school has bowed out with a plea to cut the bureaucratic burden placed upon staff.

Richard Smith

THE HEADTEACHER of a primary school has bowed out with a plea to cut the bureaucratic burden placed upon staff.

Timothy Haxell is one of the longest serving headteachers in Suffolk with 31 years at the helm of Coldfair Green Primary School, Knodishall, near Aldeburgh.

The school opened in 1975 to replace the Victorian schools which were in Friston, Aldringham and Knodishall.

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Mr Haxell, who was educated in Ipswich, arrived at the school after teaching in Hampshire and he has led Coldfair Green through numerous changes in the education system.

Now the 62-year-old says it is time to handover to a younger person as education embarks on yet more change.

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Mr Haxell said: “Thirty-one years is long enough in one job and 40 years as a teacher is a long time. It is becoming hard to appoint headteachers of primary schools nowadays and very few people go for it.

“There is a career path but people seem reluctant to accept the challenge. The job has grown although there is very little credence given to small schools, particularly rural, and with 110 children we are considered extremely small.

“But it does not matter how small you are. The structure the Government puts in, the administration and the financial work, is just as big and complex as if you were running a school of 1,500 to 2,000 pupils.

“What the small school does not have enough of is the personnel to carry out all these jobs and it is up to the headteacher to do the lot. This puts a lot of people off applying for the job.

“The bureaucratic burden because of increasing accountability has made the job a wee bit untenable. Historically, the headteacher was teaching all the time and that was their main job.”

But Mr Haxell praised the increasing professionalism of staff at his school and elsewhere in the county.

“The professionalism has increased to quite an amazing degree and they are far better paid now because they are more professional and work longer hours than they used to,” he said.

Mr Haxell lives in Knodishall and at the end of his career he was entertained by a school pantomime about his life.

He practises the Taoist form of Tai Chi and is looking forward to progressing his interest in the subject. His successor is Annie Minton, assistant head of Holton Primary School, Halesworth.

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