A popular headteacher who is fondly remembered by his pupils for taking part in snowball fights and puppet shows is to retire later this week.
Richard Rice will leave Sebert Wood Community Primary School on Friday, having filled the role since 1990 when he first opened the school.
The 61-year-old said: “Its quite emotional leaving the school that I started up. I’ve enjoyed working here so much. It’s been a wonderful 22 years and this is an emotional week.
“I like to look back on all the fun we’ve had together, all the learning, the progress the children have made and the many things we’ve done to enrich their lives, both indoors and outdoors.”
This afternoon, Mr Rice was invited to a special assembly, which included ‘an amazing’ performance of a personal adaptation of the Beatles song ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ by pupils from the school’s guitar club, which he has led for many years.
As a further thank you for Mr Rice’s contribution to the Moreton Hall community, Cllr Trevor Beckwith used his locality budget to fund a set of outdoor musical instruments.
The instruments, chosen because of Mr Rice’s special interest in music, were unveiled today in front of the pupils, who were excited to find out about the surprise.
Mr Rice said: “I’m delighted to see that in the playground, really pleased to see something that all the children can use. It’s really good of Cllr Beckwith to support something that will be used by hundreds of children over many years.”
Under Mr Rice’s leadership, the school has gone from strength to strength and was awarded Outstanding at its last OFSTED inspection in 2009.
He credits his success to having a great team, consisting of high quality teaching staff and supportive governors and parents.
He said: “If you can create a happy school where every child always wants to come to school and a child feels confident to their level, then you’ve got some really good ingredients for them making progress.”
From January, Peter Dewhurst will take over the school’s headship. The former Hardwick Primary School headteacher has recently finished a post as Head of Primary at the British International School in Shanghai, China.
“I’m looking forward to handing over to him in a way, although it’s going to be a big wrench,” said Mr Rice, who is planning to spend more time with his family and on his outdoor hobbies.
He will continue to inspire and support teachers as an associate advisor for Suffolk Education.
“It would be too big a thing for me to fully retire,” he said, adding, “I’m looking forward to doing something different.”