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The Times They Are A-Changin'

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Please see Martin's retirement message below:

Dear Parents/Carers, staff and friends of Ravenscliffe,

It is with a touch of relief that I can finally go public with a decision I first made and agreed with the school Governing Body back in the summer of 2017. In the intervening years it has been quite a challenge to keep that decision relatively private, so I am particularly relieved that today ‘the cat is now definitely out of the bag!’

I have now formally confirmed my decision to Governors to finish as Headteacher at Ravenscliffe in July 2020.

After serving the school for 26 years as Deputy Headteacher, Partner Headteacher (as a job share with Mike Hirst) and then as Headteacher of the school since 2011 I have decided that I now want to pursue some new interests. It definitely feels that 2020 is the right time to finish for both myself and the school.

Tonight in our staff meeting I have also been able to share that news with school staff.

As I type this letter I have no concrete plans for the future and I actually feel quite liberated by that degree of uncertainty. I hope you will agree that I am far too young to retire just yet!

Working on some new initiatives possibly within a completely new field may interest me, but I definitely have no desire to work at another school. Why would I? Ravenscliffe has been at the centre of my professional and family life for a long time. I have loved my time there and I already know that working at any other school, could never match up with the range of experiences I have enjoyed in Halifax.

I now want to commit some more time to my family both immediate and extended, undertake something of significance possibly within that new, as yet unknown field and enjoy some time out from the cut and thrust of school leadership. I am definitely considering undertaking another long distance expedition both to give me some time out to consider all of my options and also as a final thank you fundraiser for a school which has played such an important part in my life for over a quarter of a century. Ravenscliffe has also employed my wife Nicky and three children Rosie, Harry and Jake. So it has been a real family affair for all five of us.

When I came to Halifax back in 1995 I never really expected to stay here for so long. It has always been an exciting place to work and despite some inevitable challenges, working at Ravenscliffe has never been dull. I hope that my principal desire to give young people with special needs in Calderdale the very best learning experiences and opportunities has always been at the core of my decision making over all these years.

Whilst July 2020 sounds a long way off, in recruitment terms it is very close. It will now be necessary for the school Governors led by new Chair of Governors Phil Bishop to make an external appointment and that process will formally start in September when the school advertises this post nationally. Governors hope to appoint a new Headteacher by the end of October 2019 which will hopefully allow for a seamless transition for the successful candidate to assume the full time role of Headteacher on 1 September 2020.

Rest assured, you will be kept fully informed of the key milestones and decisions within that recruitment process.

Needless to say, wherever I end up, I will always maintain a keen interest in Ravenscliffe and its students. My hope now is that the school will recruit the best person possible to lead it forwards. In the intervening 14 months I will work as hard as I can to help the school secure a stable, exciting and successful future and try to leave a legacy that best supports that person as they takeover.

Finally, my thanks goes to the many people who have supported me so brilliantly since January 1995. There are too many to name in this letter, but I will certainly be trying to ensure I thank them personally over the next year. I especially want to acknowledge the fantastic young people I have worked with in my career at Ravenscliffe. They have always provided the spark and have made my day to day work in that school an absolute pleasure. They remain the main reason why I decided to hang around for so long!

Many thanks for being a great team of people to work with and very best wishes to you all.