Headteacher bids an emotional farewell

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A headteacher has bid an emotional farewell to the Belper school which he steered through some of the greatest periods of upheaval in its history.

John Murday was seconded to Herbert Strutt school when it went into special measures in 2000.

However, by 2008 Ofsted it scored ‘good with outstanding features’. He was also a leading force in moving the school from Derby Road to Thornhill Avenue.

Now, former pupils and parents have attended an assembly in his honour and more than 60 colleagues and well-wishers attended a dinner at the school to say farewell.

“I’m very sad to be saying goodbye,” said John. “It has been an emotional few days.

“The assembly was the most amazing thing – when the children want to come back and see after they have left and you can see how they have grown it’s wonderful.”

Two years later after Mr Murday arrived there had been a “tremendous” improvement and teachers were no longer under such intense scrutiny from inspectors.

“The school was facing challenges related to learning,” Mr Murday said. “We rose to that challenge with support from the local authority.”

Then in 2008 Mr Murday helped drive the move from the school philanthropist George Herbert Strutt had funded in 1909 to a new more modern school just up the road.

Mr Murday continued: “It’s a lovely old building and it will always have a special place in the hearts of the people of Belper, who are very attached to it.

“However, it was not fit for the the purpose of educating children in the 21st centruy.

“The new school is such a beautiful environment and I believe that it has affected learning and behaviour. Its a very uplifting place to be.”

Mr Murday, who has spent 22 years as a headteacher and 39 years as a teacher in Derbyshire is hoping to devote more time to playing sport and travelling.