Headteacher bids farewell

Mike Best

Mike Best

First published in News Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Photograph of the Author by

The portents were all there to help headteacher Mike Best make his decision to retire after 14 years leading Beaminster School.

His 60th birthday coincided with the last day of term, and it was too much of a happy coincidence to ignore.

There was also the announcement that education secretary Michael Gove was being replaced by Nicky Morgan and the fact that Beaminster school is in a very healthy place.

Mr Best said: “I never knew when I might want to retire, I just decided now was a good time.”

He will miss the students but not the political interference.

He said: “How pleased I am to see that Mr Cameron is ringing the changes. There have been more education secretaries than there have been England football managers, which tells us a great deal.”

Mr Best feels all ministers try to do the right thing, but the rest have to work their way through that minefield.

Possibly among those minefields are the controversial league tables. Mr Best has never been a slave to league tables but recognises they have a place – and parents certainly pay attention to them.

“Parents sometimes think the statistics will tell them everything they need to know but they have to visit the school in person to see what it is like because data is mischievous.”

On the other hand, he has very clear views on what the point of education is.

“The most important thing about education is to provide students with what they need for the future.

“They need to be resourceful, resilient, and they need to have a range of skills that can make them confident enough to challenge anything – that is what it is all about.

“Educational attainment goes with the territory. You should be able to achieve all those things together because they go hand in hand.”

Mr Best, who intends to remain living in Bridport, started his career in Nottinghamshire close to the pit villages at the time of the miners strike.

He has taught in both grammar and comprehensive schools, beginning as head of an art department.

Although he would describe himself as a career teacher, he didn’t have ambitions to be a head at the beginning, saying: “I enjoyed teaching and I suppose I became what I am over time.”

He said he’d like to be remembered most for leading a successful and inclusive school which reflects the values of its founders, but now he intends to fully enjoy his retirement.

He said: “I am regarding it as a gap year. I plan to have a few adventures and think about what I might do next – or not.”

He added: “There are so many things I have not done that I want to do so I shall just enjoy exploring the possibilities - and the school is in a very good position, which is very nice.”

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