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Archive - Tuesday, 27 August 2002
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Proud headteacher bows out with top-class results
RETIRING headteacher Jim Jack's modesty forbids him from claiming the credit for record-breaking A-levels and strong GCSE results at his school this year.
After ten years at the helm, he is leaving Richmond School, in North Yorkshire, on a high and takes some pleasure from the 98 per cent pass rate achieved by his A-level pupils this summer. But he insists it is not a statistic he can use to measure his own success.
"It's like a cricket score," he said. "It reflects the performance by the whole team and not an individual.''
Nevertheless, his pride in his work, the staff and the pupils at Richmond School is obvious. Indeed, passionate about his field, his decision to take early retirement almost seems to sit uncomfortably on his shoulders.
Of course, there will be more time for Fourum - the folk band he has played in for many years - and there will also be more time for community work, and more time for his family. But Mr Jack, 55, has been in education for decades and is well qualified to evaluate a teacher's lot.
He points out how his school's good results were achieved against a background of rapid change.
"Experts in commerce have studied education and concluded many leaders in schools have attributes which are admired in business - but where is the publicity which tells the world that teachers have a qualities and levels of skill sought after elsewhere?
"Instead, we focus on failure, while there are a lot of people in education doing a fantastic job who are never celebrated.''
In Mr Jack's view, there is only one way to gauge a school's performance and that is to follow a pupil's achievements.
"You cannot compare a school's results from one year with the next; there are too many variables,'' he said. "The only way you can compare is to watch an individual child. If they are doing well, then it follows the school is doing a good job.''
Mr Jack will be succeeded by Phil Beever, who moves from a headship at Brayton High School, near Selby.