‘After 18 years, time to stop and look around’

Adeyfield School - last day with headteacher Peter Hepburn.
Adeyfield School - last day with headteacher Peter Hepburn.

AFTER 18 years in the job headteacher Peter Hepburn is looking forward to taking time to ‘stop and have a look around’.

Mr Hepburn – the longest serving headteacher in Hemel Hempstead – retired from the helm of Adeyfield School on Friday with mixed feelings.

“Sadness because I’m leaving behind a lovely community and joy because obviously there are other things I want to do,” he said.

“I’m just going to enjoy the present. After a long teaching career it will be nice to stop and have a look around.”

The 62-year-old dad-of-five came from a teaching job in a London secondary school to join Adeyfield as headteacher in 1994 after moving to Hemel Hempstead.

“Since then there have been ups and downs along the way,” he said.

One challenge Mr Hepburn highlights is the increasing demands of the school watchdog Ofsted.

He said: “Ofsted continually raising the bar which has never made it easy for schools.”

And he described criticism of the current curriculum and claims that exams are dumbed down as disappointing.

“The exams, I’m sure, are as difficult for youngsters today ad they were when we took exams. It is a different type of exam and a different skills set is required. Today it is not just memorising a number of facts and going into an exam. I don’t think they’re easier, I just think they are different.”

But despite the challenges of today’s teaching world, Mr Hepburn retains his passion for the job and is delighted that his eldest son is considering a teaching career.

He said: “It is a fantastic job because you get the opportunity of working with child ren who you can see making progress over many years, and you also get the opportunity of working with some wonderful people.

“I would strongly recommend it as a career. I have had many happy hours.”

Mr Hepburn’s successor will be the school’s current deputy headteacher Scott Martin.

The outgoing head said: “My advice to him will be to value people, to value what they have done, because in valuing people you get the best out of them.”