End of an era as head leaves village school

Retiring headteacher Martyn Taylor (right) with chairman of governors Simon Lilley (left) and builder Dave Cox open a new maths classroom at Thomas Cowley High School, Donington.
Retiring headteacher Martyn Taylor (right) with chairman of governors Simon Lilley (left) and builder Dave Cox open a new maths classroom at Thomas Cowley High School, Donington.
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Things will never quite be the same again at Thomas Cowley High School, Donington, where headteacher Martyn Taylor has stepped down after ten years in the role.

Mr Taylor’s time at the school, whose most famous students have been Captain Matthew Flinders, the navigator who gave Australia its name, and Dame Sarah Swift, founder of the Royal College of Nursing, ended as students and staff broke up for their summer holidays.

Under Mr Taylor’s leadership, the school achieved academy status in September 2012 when it was also judged to be good in all areas by Ofsted and recived the British Council’s International School Award for its involvement in global and multicultural projects.

Writing in the school’s prospectus, Mr Taylor said: “We provide a caring but disciplined environment where standards of academic and personal achievement are high and where success is nurtured and celebrated.”

The outgoing headteacher’s contribution was celebrated in the school’s newspaper, The Cowley Chronicle, by students and staff such as food technology teacher and 2014 Lincolnshire Free Press/Spalding Guardian Most Inspirational Teacher of the Year (Secondary) Diane Jenney.

“I started at Thomas Cowley High School in September 2001 when Mr Taylor was the deputy head,” Mrs Jenney said.

“In those early days, I remember how he said that all teachers should have a WOW in every lesson and I have never forgotten that, striving to get as many WOWs into my teaching as possible.

“For the last 14 years, Mr Taylor was a regular visitor to the food technology room where he has always shown a keen interest in the work of the students, asking poignant questions.

“Mr Taylor is a well-respected and dedicated headteacher who has inspired and supported us all, so he will be missed.”

Other teachers spoke of Mr Taylor’s love for the arts, including First World War poetry, cookery and the city of Hull.

Another teacher, Eleanor Livesey, said: “When I arrived here, Mr Taylor was my Newly Qualified Teacher mentor and he was quite scary.

“At the end of my first year, I was presented with a book to celebrate the fact that I’d passed my first year.

“It was The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business and it summed up Mr Taylor’s sense of humour perfectly.

“But over many trips with Mr Taylor, including one to Italy, I can now say that he’s not scary at all and he will be missed.”

Mr Taylor will be succeeded as headteacher at Thomas Cowley High School by current deputy headteacher Ian Dawson.