Alston headteacher moving on

Date: Friday 17th December 2010
SAMUEL King’s School, at Alston, said goodbye to headteacher John Whittle at the end of this term.Mr. Whittle (right) is to take up the headship of Haydon Bridge High School in January.
SAMUEL King’s School, at Alston, said goodbye to headteacher John Whittle at the end of this term.Mr. Whittle (right) is to take up the headship of Haydon Bridge High School in January.

SAMUEL King’s School, at Alston, said goodbye to headteacher John Whittle at the end of the autumn term.

Mr. Whittle (right) is to take up the headship of Haydon Bridge High School in January.

He came to Samuel King’s his first headship two years ago and this week told the Herald that leading the school had been a source of real pride for him.

“I am sad to be leaving. This is a lovely school to work in, with wonderful pupils and staff, parents and governors.

“I have learned a lot about what it takes to be a headteacher and this has been a fantastic school to learn in. I am really proud to have been head here.”

Mr. Whittle, who is 45, came to Samuel King’s from Beacon Hill School, in Aspatria.

Originally from Ulverston, he studied PE at Leeds Polytechnic and took his first teaching post at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School from 1986 to 1996.

He then moved to become head of PE at Cockermouth School until 2005, when he transferred to Beacon Hill as deputy head.

During his time at Alston Mr. Whittle has overseen changes to the curriculum and pastoral process, and says that one of the school’s strengths is its welcoming atmosphere.

As well as catering for pupils from the area of Alston Moor, pupils from further afield, in Weardale and some of the East Fellside villages, are also taking up places there.

Although moving on to pastures new, Mr. Whittle will remain in contact with the many Samuel King’s pupils who go on to Haydon Bridge a school with around 700 pupils in the 13 to 18 age group to study for A-levels. The two schools are linked through the North Pennine Learning Partnership.

Taking over the leadership of Samuel King’s for the next two terms will be a team of three assistant heads, with Mrs. Pat Cuthbertson the named acting head. The three assistant heads, all very experienced, were described by Mr. Whittle as “superb colleagues”.

The school’s governing body will come to a decision about the future of the headship before the start of the next school year.

Commenting on the attitude at Samuel King’s towards the issue of becoming an academy school, Mr. Whittle said that governors were exploring the issue at present and considering whether to move forward with it.