Britain’s most famous TV explorer, the late Alan Whicker, said nearly 40 years ago: “The East always weaves a spell to enchant the West”.
For Tom Verity, outgoing executive headteacher of the Pinchbeck East Primary School, Spalding Primary School and Surfleet Primary School collaboration, the East’s spell is casting him right back to the region where his career in education started 23 years ago.
But instead of Hong Kong, Mr Verity will be replacing life in eastern England with a new opportunity as principal of the primary campus at the Alice Smith School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Mr Verity said: “I started teaching in 1993, in Hong Kong, and I’ve been back to Asia many times.
“I love the region and so I decided that I would return there one day when a fresh challenge came up.
“The opportunity in Malaysia was one I couldn’t turn down, but it’s been really difficult as well when you’ve invested so much of your time and effort into a school.”
he opportunity in Malaysia was one I couldn’t turn down, but it’s been really difficult as well when you’ve invested so much of your time and effort into a schoolTom Verity, outgoing executive headteacher of the Pinchbeck East, Spalding and Surfleet Primary Schools
In fact, Mr Verity has invested his time and effort in several Lincolnshire schools, also including Bourne Abbey Primary Academy and Rauceby Primary School, Sleaford.
But the seven years spent at Pinchbeck East Primary School, set to grow in size from 315 pupils to 420 from September, are what has put Mr Verity into Lincolnshire education’s unofficial hall of fame.
Helen Banks, chairman of governors for Pinchbeck East Primary School, said: “Everyone who has been involved with the school, since Easter 2009, will know how sad we are to lose Mr Verity.
“He joined the school initially in the mid-90s as a newly qualified teacher, quickly demonstrating the excellent teaching and leadership qualities which lead to promotion.
“Mr Verity left us in 2000 and after a spell as team leader at what was Bourne Abbey Primary School, he became the deputy head at Rauceby Primary School where he was subsequently promoted to headteacher.
“However, staff and governors at Pinchbeck East had kept in touch with this rising star and we were delighted when Mr Verity chose to respond to our advertisement for a new headteacher before returning to a school where he had previously been happy and well-respected.”
From the moment of his return to Pinchbeck East in April 2009, it took just a year for Mr Verity, staff and governors to transform the school from one that came out of special measures just two years earlier to being among the top 25 per cent of primary schools nationally for English and maths in October 2010. In May 2012, Pinchbeck East became a school rated by Ofsted as “outstanding” and one where ”the outstanding leadership and clear vision of the headteacher has been a driving force in improvement over the last three years”.
Mrs Banks said: “Mr Verity’s reputation grew and responding to an instinct for further challenge, along with negotiations with governors in each school, he was promoted to become executive headteacher of a collaboration, first with Spalding Primary School and subsequently with Surfleet Primary School.
“He leaves us now, having led his team to sustaining Pinchbeck’s outstanding Ofsted judgements year-on-year since 2012, with Spalding Primary School recognised as ‘Good’ and Surfleet Primary School having been awarded ‘Good’ after its Ofsted inspection last term.
“We congratulate Mr Verity on his great success and thank him for demonstrating his inspiring leadership.”
Praise for Tom Verity’s service to Pinchbeck East Primary School has come from foundation governor and Vicar of Pinchbeck, the Rev David Sweeting.
He said: “We’re part of an outstanding Church school, with fantastic leadership, fantastic teachers and absolutely outstanding pupils.
“But I think what makes us really special is the quality of our relationships and during his time with us, Tom Verity has built very strong and open relationships.
“He has been an absolute joy to work with.”
Head of school Teeny Vayro said: “Mr Verity is a very strong leader and very supportive, both on a personal and professional level.
“He maintains that human touch in everything he does and he is a team player who knows how to build and maintain true team spirit.
“We’re very sad to see Mr Verity go but we’ll continue to work closely as a team to build on our success under our new, child-centred head.”