‘I will miss them every day’ - Wisbech school’s longest serving teacher retires
PUBLISHED: 17:09 22 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:09 22 July 2020
Thomas Clarkson Academy
Gerwyn Williams is retiring after 35 years of teaching at Thomas Clarkson Academy and its predecessor schools in Wisbech.
Mr Williams, who taught Design Technology and engineering, has been part of the lives of thousands of pupils who attended the secondary school.
Since his first day at Queen’s School in 1985, he remained at the school as it went through various and significant changes.
Reflecting on his career, Mr Williams said: “We have been through some very fluctuating times, from the depths of special measures to our recent Good Ofsted judgement.
“The thing I’m most proud of is that the people of Wisbech now have a good school that they can be proud of.”
He added: “The culture has changed.”
Mr Williams joined the school the same year that the girls’ and boys’ school amalgamated. Staff would spend time teaching at Queen’s and then be transferred to teach at the girls’ school.
He said: “It was quite poignant when all the facilities were pulled down – I remember the deputy head saying beforehand that if we wanted anything then to go and get it.
“I took the science benches and used them for years afterwards.”
During his time at the school - which have been known as Queen’s School, Thomas Clarkson Community College and Thomas Clarkson Academy - he has held roles as assistant head of year, head of Design Technology and assistant principal.
He enjoyed being involved in pastoral care most.
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Mr Williams, a Welshman who moved to the area to teach at Smithdon High School in Hunstanton before starting at Queen’s, said: “I’ve enjoyed seeing children grow up, from Year 7 through to Year 13 – you look at these young people and you’re proud of them.
“I will miss the children and chatting to them outside the classroom – I will miss them every day.”
He added: ““When I have seen people I’ve taught in the past, they have remembered me – you forget the impact you can have.
“Each child is an individual and if you can have an impact, you have made a difference.”
Mr Williams has also been involved in the development of the academy’s current building and setting up the Year 11 prom, which has grown into a popular annual event.
Richard Scott, the school’s principal, said: “It has been a privilege to work with Gerwyn in the last few years of his career and seeing him working with the students it is obvious as to why he has been an inspiration to so many youngsters over the years.
“He has not only made a positive difference to generations of children, he has been hugely influential in the support and help he has given to so many colleagues.
“His caring and supportive nature will have been a rock on which many teachers, often young and inexperienced, will have leant on when they needed help and guidance. He will be hugely missed by everyone.”
During his retirement, Mr Williams will spend time at his holiday home in Pembrokeshire and going out on his fishing boat.
He said: “I know [the students] will laugh when they read this but I can’t wait to get out on my boat!
“The boat has always been part of my teaching, whether we’ve been looking at engineering or aerodynamics, and quite often they would pre-empt what I was going to say about it!”
Mr Williams also plans to visit New Zealand and Canada, and will hopefully get to see the British Lions rugby team in action.
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