BEAMINSTER: Beaminster School has a new headteacher – and he’s a familiar face.

Keith Hales, who starts his new job in the autumn, has been the deputy headmaster at the school for the past decade.

He takes over from head teacher Mike Best who was in the job for 14 years.

Mr Hales, who lives with his family in Uplyme, started his career in a large comprehensive just south of London, where he worked his way up from a newly-qualified physics teacher to assistant head in 12 years.

He was also head of careers and vocational education.

But with ideas of starting a family Mr Hales, 44, and his wife Corinne, who teaches at Woodroffe School in Lyme, decided it was the right time for a move to the county.

Having just been on holiday to West Dorset, they knew where they wanted to be.

Mr Hales said: “I loved my subject and I wanted to inspire other people to take physics. It starts as much with your subject, but then I like working with people. I could not imagine working in an office job. To me it is all about interacting with people.”

“But I was lucky. Coming from such a big school provided lots of opportunities for new posts.”

He got the job as deputy headmaster at Beaminster nearly 10 years ago and stayed so long because he shared so many values with Mr Best.

Now as head he sees his vision for the future very much as carrying on Mr Best’s legacy.

He said: “Mike and I have always had a very similar view of what education should be like for a rural community school. It is about providing the best that we can for the students and that often means having to think about individuals.

“It is just such a lovely school. When Mike said he was retiring I couldn’t think of letting somebody else take the job.”

In common with Mr Best, Mr Hales thinks there is so much more to education than academic qualifications.

Mr Hales said: “To me there are two important things about education – to give pupils the qualifications to enable them to do the things they want and secondly, and probably more importantly, an aspiration to be the best person they can be.

“We spend a lot of time in education talking about the qualifications but actually they are just stepping stones.

“For me it is about the journey rather than the result. It is about them having opportunities – like activities week – to do something completely different, to develop skills to use when they do go in to the world of work.

“Qualifications will get them in the door but unless they have got the personality, the skills and the values then they just won’t succeed.”

Mr Hales has two daughters at local schools.