A top headteacher said farewell to his staff and pupils as he headed off on a year of discovery in a top education role.
Andy Mellor was waved off yesterday from St Nicholas CE Primary in Marton as he takes up a 12-month position as national president of the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT).
He has overseen the school’s rise to being named the town’s first mainstream school to be awarded an ‘outstanding’ rating by Ofsted since 2009.
He said: “Monday was the last day I had with the children – I have been in school assemblies where teachers have said farewell to the children when they have left for pastures new before.
“But it’s not until you stand up there yourself when it’s your turn that the enormity of it hits you.
“My eldest child is now doing her A-levels but she was only two-years-old when I came here. It’s staggering how long I have been here and how much the school is part of my life.”
Mr Mellor, who will still be based in Blackpool one day a week, will work with the government’s Department for Education to shape policy and try to ensure pupils and parents get the best deal during his year in office.
He said: “In the assembly I stressed to the children about grasping opportunities and I said this was one I couldn’t miss. It’s good for me but it is also good for the children to see that opportunities are there to be seized and it raises aspirations. I’ll still be involved in the Opportunity Area board because we need to keep the momentum going in Blackpool that we have worked so hard to build.
“It’s going to be strange leaving but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Mr Mellor was vice-president of the NAHT in 2017-18. The NAHT represents 30,000 headteachers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Mr Mellor’s deputy Claire Taylor will be taking on the acting headship from today.
He said: “Claire has been here since she was a newly qualified teacher so she knows the school inside out.
“To be honest we are well past the point where Claire should have been a headteacher already. There’s good continuity for the pupils and she is very experienced so I have the utmost confidence she will do a fantastic job in my absence.”
Year 6 teacher Jo-Anne Harper will become acting deputy headteacher.