'Inspirational' Ipswich science teacher retires after 36 years

Science teacher Bob Pattinson is leaving St Alban's High School after more than 30 years

Science teacher Bob Pattinson (centre) is leaving St Alban's High School after more than 30 years - Credit: St Alban's High School

An Ipswich high school has waved goodbye to an "inspirational" science teacher who is leaving the world of teaching after 36 years.

St Alban's High School head of science Bob Pattinson first joined the Ipswich catholic school in 1985, working his way through the ranks as a young physics teacher to leading the science faculty.

Mr Pattinson, who comes from a family of teachers across Suffolk, continued to be a popular name among pupils and staff alike and was well-known for his love of travel and teaching children the wonders of the natural world.

Bob Pattinson teaching students at St Alban's High School in 2014

Bob Pattinson teaching students at St Alban's High School in 2014 - Credit: Archant

He would regularly take children on trips to far-flung corners of the world to help teach them about the environment and the importance of conservation, with trips to Indonesia and Cuba among the amazing opportunities he helped make possible.

Highlights of the trips included scuba diving and swimming with turtles in crystal clear waters.


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The trips were part of Operation Wallacea, an international project which has so far resulted in 30 new species being discovered alongside four species previously believed to be extinct.

Dozens of former students and colleagues have taken to social media to post their goodbyes, which has been flooded with goodwill messages.

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Former pupils have referred to him as "passionate", "honourable" and "kind", while others referred to him as a "legend".

NEWS - VICTORIAPICTURE ANDY ABBOTT 2.12.11Pupils and staff at St Albans Catholic High Schoo

Pupils finishing a 20-hour exercise programme to raise money for the Operation Wallacea International Conservation Expedition, organised by Mr Pattinson - Credit: Andy Abbott

Many have also gone on to have successful careers of their own in different fields of science, thanking Mr Pattinson directly for helping them achieve their dreams.

Mr Pattinson's brother, Mark – who is the school's head of technology – said Bob inspired him to get into teaching.

Mr Pattinson with a group of sixth form students on a trip to Indonesia 

Mr Pattinson with a group of sixth form students on a trip to Indonesia - Credit: Courtesy of Mark Pattinson

Mark said: "He is just about the most generous person you could wish to meet; patience and kindness best describes him.

"Bob carried his enthusiasm for outdoor pursuits into his teaching and took his classroom outside at every opportunity, whether it was using longbows to teach velocity and calculate trajectory or the physics of combustion using potato canons.

"As Bob said as he left, children don’t remember what they learned but they do remember what they felt when they learned it.

"Several generations of learners salute you and wish you well."

The Pattinson brothers with students from Indonesia

The Pattinson brothers with students from Indonesia - Credit: Archant

School headteacher Matt Baker praised him for his more than three decades of service.

Mr Baker said: “Bob has such deep subject knowledge that he is still enthusiastic to pass on and inspire future scientists.

"He has the ability to teach well beyond the curriculum with a smile and total control of his audiences.

"He will be greatly missed.”

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