Woodbridge: Retiring head departs school after 21 years

Stephen Cole retires after 21 years as headteacher at Woodbridge School. Stephen Cole retires after 21 years as headteacher at Woodbridge School.

Tom Potter tom.potter@archant.co.uk
Friday, July 4, 2014
10:15 AM

After 21 years in charge of an independent Suffolk school, Stephen Cole will today walk the corridors for the final time as headmaster.

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Stephen Cole retires after 21 years as headteacher at Woodbridge School. Stephen is pictured with pupils L-R: Rob Smith, Ella Carter, Abi Dolan and Sam Stowe.Stephen Cole retires after 21 years as headteacher at Woodbridge School. Stephen is pictured with pupils L-R: Rob Smith, Ella Carter, Abi Dolan and Sam Stowe.

Under his leadership, admissions have grown at Woodbridge School, academic levels have risen and the majority of leavers now win a place at their first choice university.

He has overseen the establishment of the sixth form centre and Seckford Theatre, as well as national success among pupils in sport, music and the Combined Cadet Force.

Not only a proponent of academic success, Mr Cole has long advocated the development of individual talent, giving each pupil a breadth of knowledge and experience to equip them for life beyond school. Choral music and drama have thrived during his tenure, with many young pupils entering the National Youth Choirs and National Youth Orchestra.

Mr Cole introduced and developed the school’s award-winning international exchange programme, which has seen exchanges with schools in Australia, Oman, India, South Africa, Russia, China, Japan and most European countries.

He and his wife, Jane have supported pupils and their activities by attending sports matches and drama productions, listening to music and choral productions, and taking part in school events.

Mr Cole, who has also raised £130,000 for chosen charities through his marathon running over the years, said he had “loved every single moment” of his time at Woodbridge School. “There is a very strong spiritual relationship between the school and the community,” he added.

“The myriad talents of the children underpins the academic success at the school.”

Roger Finbow, chairman of the Seckford Foundation, of which Woodbridge School is a part, said: “Stephen, supported by his wife Jane, has built a truly exceptional community at Woodbridge School and they have both given time to the local and wider community in so many ways.

“We are all very grateful for their commitment and enthusiasm with which they have always greeted every person and every activity and we wish them well in the future.”

Mr Cole will go on to chair the education committee of the free schools set up by the Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust.

He will be replaced as headteacher by Neil Tetley, who arrives from Sevenoaks School, in Kent.

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