Outlook 23
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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Five minutes with James Leese ...
James Leese, Head Teacher of St Mary’s Church of England School, Woodbridge for the last nine years, is due to retire in August. What makes St Mary’s a good school? It’s a traditional school rooted in its church ethos; we have been here for 205 years! Parents send their children because of its reputation, and children come to work hard with a strong attitude to learning. Our motto is ‘Learning with faith’. What do you see as your biggest contribution over the last nine years? Raising professional and leadership capacity has done much to achieve academic results. I’m leaving the school with a very dedicated staff. Another strength has been in special educational needs to ensure that all children have the same opportunity to succeed. What have you most enjoyed about being Head Teacher? Setting high standards that staff, children and parents aspire to, be it academic work, drama or sport; working with such dedicated and committed staff. I’ve never worked anywhere so special. What will you miss most when you leave? The children for their enthusiasm. The Nativity Play and the hilarious mishaps. The staff who have all become very close friends. Holy Communion with the parish. Reading the fifth lesson at St Mary’s Carol Service – I’ll watch carols from Kings and think of St Mary’s this Christmas. How can parents best help their children at school? Don’t have an expectation that children will achieve without their support. Parents need to instil in their children an attitude to learning and a care for each other. Children can best succeed if education happens at home. Is there anything more you would like to have done? Not really – there is always something for the next person, so I am pleased with my time at St Mary’s and believe I have been part of a wonderful team that has made a real difference. I even managed to win four County Awards! What plans do you have for your retirement? I’m moving to the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border, and would like to get involved at the Trustee level at Addenbrookes Hospital. I have already booked a cruise and a villa, so I need a job to pay for them! St Mary’s School and the parish will always be in my heart. Anne Wright