Every child, regardless of background and parental income, has the right to a first-class education.
That’s the belief of Tim Clark, who leaves his role as headmaster of Spalding High School at the end of this week.
It’s a strongly held belief that has guided his time in education, the past 14 years at the High School, 12 of them as headmaster.
The title he chooses to use – headmaster rather than the more commonly used headteacher – reveals a lot about the man.
“I make no apologies for being a traditionalist as far as traditional values are concerned,” says Tim.
He is talking about high expectations in terms of behaviour of pupils and their willingness to work hard.
He says: “I have always been very intolerant of those who don’t want to work hard and those who don’t make the most of their time at the school, and certainly those who don’t want to behave.”
A young pupil once asked him what his job entailed, and his response was that it was to allow teachers to teach and pupils to learn.
“I want to provide a strong, disciplined,professional environment and within that every child should feel safe and should be able to grow and develop,” he says.
And develop they have, in sport, music, drama, opportunities for sports leadership and Duke of Edinburgh award programmes alongside attaining consistently good grades in exams.
Tim is going to a very different environment in his new job on the largest council housing estate in Europe, the Woodberry Down Estate, in Hackney, the second most deprived borough in the country, where over 40 per cent of pupils are entitled to free school meals.
However, just like parents of pupils at Spalding High School, the parents of students at the London school want what Tim calls “a strong, successful school”.
He says: “I think parents will be very supportive of a school that allows their children to develop and to be successful in life.
“The reason I have been appointed is to raise standards, improve behaviour and allow children to develop and grow.
“It has been a very difficult decision to move because I have been happy here, but it’s time to move on.
“I have just been so proud to be headmaster of the school. Proud of the pupils, the staff and the school and everything we have achieved.”