Bramhall High School headmistress Lynne Fox may be preparing for a quiet retirement but staff and students are planning to mark her exit from school life with a celebration to remember in just a couple of months’ time.
I Love Bramhalll met up with Lynne and Senior Leader Simon Stonehouse to find out more about how Lynne’s legacy will leave a lasting and positive influence at our local high school, as well as what’s in store for Lynne, and for the school, over the coming months.
Announcing recently that she’d be bringing her retirement forward a year, Lynne has been at the helm of Bramhall High for over four years. In that time, she’s harnessed and led the school through a transformation that’s helped put Bramhall High right at the heart of the community.
Rebuilding confidence in a school and turning around perceptions is a slow process, Simon says, and yet under Lynne’s leadership, Bramhall High has achieved everything it could have hoped for. Over the last four years, Lynne has maintained a visible, approachable presence in the community, listening, addressing concerns and – ultimately – securing improvements.
“We’ve been able to rebuild local confidence and pride in the school,” Simon says. “Bramhall High is now a vibrant place to learn offering great experiences – both within and beyond the classroom.”
Bramhall High has invested both time and money to give pupils wide-ranging opportunities under Lynne’s tenure, he adds.
“We use opportunities in the community to enhance education as part of the holistic idea of school. We’ve never lost sight of art and creativity under Lynne; for some children, having the chance to participate in other activities is why they get out of bed and come to school in the morning. We need kids to be creative learners and thinkers – statistically, they do better.”
Pupils have wide-ranging opportunities to try all kinds of activities alongside their lessons, including the Duke of Edinburgh award programme and the school band, as well as exploring other interests, often made possible by the goodwill of the staff, such as beekeeping!
At a time when there are so many external pressures on children and mental health is at the forefront of the public’s mind, these things are vital, Simon and Lynne say.
“We value what our students do, which is reflected in our ethos: every student, every subject, every grade,” remarks Lynne. “It’s not just tokenism; it’s embodied here at Bramhall High. And it’s not just about results, it’s about making school a vibrant and enjoyable place to be.”
And that extends to the staff, too. Just last week the staff held development meetings with staff within the Bramhall Learning Family – a partnership with all the local primary schools with a focus on the wellbeing of the school community. Through the partnership there have been all kinds of positive developments, including mindfulness, yoga and packed lunches for the teachers to ensure they can give their best while feeling valued.
The initiative also enables resource sharing and helps the school build on their collective strengths so that when the time comes for children to move to high school, there’s no loss of learning.
Simon comments: “We’re looking back but we’re also looking forward. We received unanimous support for the school from the community in the wake of a somewhat perplexing recent visit from Ofsted. The community is confident in the school; the departments, networks and PTA are strong and it’s our intention to finish on a high. While we’re sad to lose Lynne, we’re now in a much stronger position to move on to the next chapter for Bramhall High.”
With Lynne scooping a silver Pearson National Teaching Award last year, finishing on a high this summer is all but given – awards adjudicators met with parents, school staff, the council and members of the community, who told the story of Bramhall High’s transformation and the excellent choice of opportunities available for students.
Lynne concluded: “This was my fifth headship and without a doubt I saved the best for last. After 36 years in teaching, I’ll certainly miss it. Everyone was hungry for improvement at Bramhall High and I’m satisfied that we’ve achieved everything we set out to do. I can confidently walk out with my head held high.”
To celebrate Lynne’s legacy, Bramhall High School will be holding a special summer celebration on Friday May 1st and fundraising for the school on the night. Andy Powell and the Bramhall High School Swing Band will be performing and there will be a licensed bar – please come and join us in giving Lynne the send-off she deserves before she begins filling her days with dog walking.
Meanwhile, later this month the Fairey Band will be playing at the school featuring Bramhall ensembles, so don’t forget reserve your tickets for March 20th!
I Love Bramhall wishes Lynne the happiest of retirements. Thank you for all that you’ve done to help transform our local high school – you won’t be forgotten!
Find: Seal Road, Bramhall, Stockport SK7 2JT