Pete Dixon has taught at Clyst Vale for 36 years (and a term, as he likes to remind me), and Richard Forbes for 23. Both are retiring today, and we must pay tribute to their phenomenal contribution to Clyst Vale. Mr Dixon was teaching here before about forty of the current staff members were even born, and has had remarkable success in teaching borderline students who have struggled with Maths. Generations of students (and parents) will remember his unconventional teaching approaches, including his widespread use of nicknames! He has been a loyal and supportive colleague for other members of staff, and will be missed by students and staff alike. These days, it is very rare for teachers to serve in just one school for such an extended period, which just underlines his significance over the years. It is sad that in the very last week of his teaching career, Mr Dixon is unfortunately confined to his bed with a nasty dose of flu, and we wish him a speedy recovery.
Richard Forbes was planning to retire in July 2013, but agreed to postpone his retirement for a term to provide continuity for the School system. Typical of him, he said that this had been a good thing as it had given him more time to prepare for retirement, but it was really a generous act of loyalty to the students and staff of Clyst Vale. On the penultimate day of term, Mr Forbes watched the “World Cup Final”; the competition was his idea, the teamwork between different year groups a passion of his, and he couldn’t resist getting involved in the team talks at half-time and giving feedback to players after the game. There was far, far more than football, though: Mr Forbes has worked with some our most challenging students over the years, as well as providing sensitive support for students with special educational needs; he has been an extremely popular and effective Head of Year and School for more than 15 years in total, earning incredible respect from students and staff alike. His assemblies have been inspiring, and always reflect accurately the ethos and needs of the College as a whole.
It is hard to imagine Clyst Vale without Mr Dixon and Mr Forbes, but the year will resume in January and we will move on. However, Christmas provides a pause for thought, and I will reflect on what a privilege it has been to work with two fine colleagues. We wish them both a long, happy and fulfilled retirement, with deep thanks for everything that they have given to Clyst Vale.