Inspiring Clitheroe headteacher says farewell

Headteacher at St Michael and St John RC Primary School, Mr Murray, is leaving the school.
Headteacher at St Michael and St John RC Primary School, Mr Murray, is leaving the school.

Mr Vincent Murray, headteacher of St Michael and St John’s RC Primary School (SSMJ), said farewell to staff, pupils, parents and governors this afternoon (Friday) during an emotional assembly.

Headteacher for 18 years, Mr Murray, who is taking up the headship at the Federation of Our Lady and St Hubert with St Wulstan’s Primary School, Great Harwood, said leaving the school would be a huge wrench, but he is excited about taking on a new challenge.

During his time at SSMJ, Mr Murray (57) said there had been many highlights.

Strengthening links with the community and Clitheroe’s The Grand, employing a French teacher to work at all the primary schools in Clitheroe through the school’s Beacon Status, coordinating continuous improvements to the school building and winning two Green Flag eco-school awards are just several highlights that spring to mind.

The impressive SATS results of this year’s school leavers are also a “great legacy” said Mr Murray to pass on.

“We’ve always had a reputation for high standards and, despite a perceived blip in the last couple of years, I’m happy to report the SATS results for Year 6 this year.”

They include 100% of pupils achieving level four in English and maths by the time they leave the school, just over 50% achieving level five, and three children achieving level six in maths.

“I’m leaving on one of the best set of results which is a nice legacy to pass on to some one,” said Mr Murray.

Other highlights have included the school being asked to represent the Salford Diocese at a bicentenary of Westminster Cathedral during which Cardinal Hulme presented the school with a candle lit during special occasions at the school.

Mr Murray added Christmas is always a special time at the school, he had enjoyed the school choir’s performances in the community, pupils taking part in Young Voices at the MEN and links with Stonyhurst College.

“I’m so grateful for the support, loyalty and friendship I’ve enjoyed during all my time here and I will still be keeping an eye on SSMJ because it’s still a big part of me,” said Mr Murray.

School secretary Mrs Susan Kerr and school caretaker and lollipop man Mr Alan Moon said: “Some of the staff have been fortunate enough to have shared all the 18 years of Mr Murray’s headship, and its been a privilege to have worked with such an inspirational and charismatic headteacher. He has a wonderful sense of fun and its been a real pleasure coming to work, we have laughed a lot over the years. School theme days particularly come to mind, when both children and staff get involved and ‘dress up’ as characters. Vincent’s ‘creations’ are invariably hilarious, and the children (and staff) love it! He had better not forget his 60-year-old teddy bear, which waits forlornly on a shelf in his office for the annual picnic in the school garden!

“He leaves an enriched school community and parish and we are all going to miss him very much. He takes with him our gratitude for being able to be a part of such a remarkable period in our old school’s history, our best wishes for future successes and very many friendships.”

Mrs Sarah Healey, who is currently headteacher at Waddington and West Bradford CE Primary School, will become associate head teacher at SSMJ in September.

Read in the next edition of the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times how Mr Murray was inspired to become a teacher.