Head leaves school after 25 years

WHEN Terry Ring arrived at Felixstowe's Deben High, he intended to stay for a couple of years.

WHEN Terry Ring arrived at Felixstowe's Deben High, he intended to stay for a couple of years.

Now 25 years on he is retiring - having been the school's head teacher for the past seven of them.

Mr Ring came to the school in Garrison Lane in January 1983 as head of science.

“I can remember that time so clearly - the ship the European Gateway was still lying on her side off Felixstowe after the accident, the Orwell Bridge had just opened but the M25 wasn't built,” he said.

“I was commuting from Hastings and on my first morning my car broke down and I was late - not a very auspicious start!”

Mr Ring, 58, studied engineering at university before training as a teacher. He taught in Surrey and Sussex before coming to Suffolk.

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He was promoted to senior teacher at Deben and later deputy head, before taking over as acting head in 2001 and a year later as head teacher.

Despite deciding a year ago he would retire this summer, this year has been one of his busiest and he is working up until the last bell of term.

There has been much planning to do for major changes to curriculum to provide more flexible learning for the youngest pupils, all part of the Building Schools for the Future project which will eventually see Deben and Orwell highs merge into one new super-school.

“It is a very exciting time and people say to me, why are you leaving if it such an exciting time? But I know I will not still be here in 2012 or 2013 when the new school is built, so it is right to go now and leave the preparation and planning for that to someone new,” he said.

The school has moved steadily forward under Mr Ring's headship with improvements to exam results and many changes to learning, but he regards his most significant achievement as gaining specialist arts college status for the school and the benefits that has brought.

Among the changes he has seen has been the change in staffing - with the school now having more non-teachers than teachers.

“I have had fantastic support from my colleagues over the years and could not have achieved anything without all the hard work they do,” said Mr Ring, who is married with two grown-up children.

The new head of Deben is Rob Cawley, who has been working for the past four years as deputy head of a school in Essex and taught at Kesgrave High for ten years.

Pay your tribute to Terry Ring - write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk