Oldfield Primary headteacher to retire after 20 years at school

Oldfield Primary School headteacher Richard Jarrett will bid farewell later this month as he retires from teaching.

The 62-year-old is stepping down after 20 years of service which has included overseeing the school’s expansion from its old Chiltern Road site to a new home in Bray Road.

He received an MBE for services to education in the Queen’s 2018 birthday honours and led the school to back-to-back ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted inspections in 2007 and 2014.

Mr Jarrett said: “A lot of the staff that I started with as headteacher are still at Oldfield.

“We’ve kept that core of staff right the way through, it’s a lovely area, the people are great but the most important thing in all of this is the kids.

“They are a wonderful group of children.”

The High Wycombe resident started his teaching career in Brighton back in 1982 before taking a 10-year break from the classroom.

This included a stint tutoring the son of Rolling Stones legend, Ronnie Wood, during the band’s Voodoo Lounge tour in 1995.

He travelled to gigs in Amsterdam, Cologne and London before returning to teaching full-time later that year.

Mr Jarrett joined Oldfield Primary as deputy headteacher in 2001 before taking over from Elizabeth Henderson two years later.

His tenure has included the school doubling its intake from 210 to 420 pupils as part of the move to the £9 million facility in Bray Road.

But the past 16 months has posed challenges like no other with extended spells of home learning during the coronavirus crisis.

“The reorganisation of the learning of the children from face-to-face to remote learning has been challenging but all credit to my staff for reacting.

“From what we had in March 2020 to what we had the last lockdown is like chalk and cheese,” Mr Jarrett said.

“Having started my teaching career in 1982, I am perhaps an old traditionalist in the sense I like to see my children and be with my children and I did not enjoy talking to a television screen and didn’t come into teaching for that.

“We turned into almost like a field hospital and my focus has not been so much on the learning and education of the children, it’s been more on the health and safety of everyone at the school through COVID-19.

“The last 18 months have been very difficult.”

Mr Jarrett said his retirement offers the school to make a fresh start with new leadership and he will now see what ‘fate has in store’ for his own future.

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