Ipswich: Former head of Northgate High School entered into Who’s Who

Neil Watts, former headteacher at Northgate High School

Neil Watts, former headteacher at Northgate High School - Credit: Archant

A former headteacher at one of Ipswich’s largest schools has been entered into Who’s Who.

Neil Watts, who was headteacher at Northgate High School between 1992 and 2009, is one of more than 1,000 new entries for Who’s Who 2014.

Mr Watts was born in Middleton, near Manchester, and studied at Magdalene College, Cambridge, before obtaining a postgraduate certificate in education at the University of Leicester.

He began teaching economics at King Henry VIII in Coventry in 1974, before moving to Hedingham Comprehensive School, Halstead and then Stowupland High School in Stowmarket.

He started at Northgate High as deputy headteacher in 1985 before taking on a position at Sudbury Upper School and returning to Northgate as headteacher in 1992.

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However in the last decade Neil has also carved out a career for himself in regulation. This began before he retired from Northgate when he took a position on the council of the Advertising Standards Authority.

“The field of regulation opened up to me because of the fact that I’d had such a positive experience at ASA and I had added to my skills base,” said Neil. “I then joined the board of the Architects Registration Board, and was successful in joining Ofqual.”

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In 2011 Mr Watts was one of 6,000 who applied for a position as a Press Complaints Commissioner. He joined the PCC in November 2011. The Commission meets every six weeks, however every week Mr Watts is sent a tranche of notes about press complaints on which he must come to a conclusion.

It was in April of this year that “out of the blue, completely unexpected”, he received a letter inviting him to submit an entry about himself for Who’s Who.

Each person included in Who’s Who supplies the original information for their entry and is then sent an annual proof for updating.

The 33,000 entries between the covers of the book are about people “of influence and interest in the UK and abroad”.

“Initially I did wonder whether it was a wind up from some of my erstwhile friends,” said Mr Watts, “but I checked them out and it was genuine. I was honoured really, to be considered. It was quite interesting because your mother and father appear in there and your wife with her maiden name..

“I’m thrilled to be included and it’s a nice accolade at this stage of my professional career.”

Mr Watts describes his tenure as head at Northgate as “the pinnacle of my professional career”.

“I took over a school as they were moving into a new site and we were a good school at that point,” he said. “We went on to develop into an outstanding school, we had four successive ‘outstanding’ inspections and that was a tremendous team effort.”

As well as outlining his career in teaching and regulation, Neil’s entry also includes books which he has written on economics, and his recreations which include, “remaining optimistic whilst supporting Rochdale AFC.”

They’re currently fifth in Division Two.

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