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Head's farewell after 28 years at the same school

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PARENTS and pupils will say goodbye to a much-loved head after almost 30 years at the same Kenley primary school.

David Wilcox came to Hayes Primary School as deputy head 28 years ago when a third of the school was housed in 40-year-old huts. He then rose to head teacher 18 years ago and has overseen the school doubling in size.

Mr Wilcox told the Advertiser he was certain he was leaving the school on a high, having instilled a love of music and charity in his pupils.

"We have a long tradition of charity at the school and have encouraged the children to raise thousands of pounds each year," he said.

"We support a school in India and have provided them with a minibus to make sure children can get to school. At the moment, we are trying to raise £15,000 for three new classrooms there.

"I want pupils to see how important charity is and that not everyone is as fortunate as them."

Although he dedicated his career to education, the head's first love was music. When he first started out as a teacher, he was still studying music as a pianist and a singer in London.

He said: "Almost 40 per cent of the pupils play an instrument at Hayes which is far higher than the average. I've made sure children who would not have otherwise had access to music."

The school had to wait until 2002 before the huts were replaced with a permanent building and then two years ago, it was given £3 million in funding for expanding to two forms of entry.

"The greatest challenge was keeping the school running properly while the building was taking place but it has all been worth it and we've won a handful of awards."

Jo Doble, the head of the parent and teacher association, said Mr Wilcox always went "above and beyond" what was expected of him and had dedicated his career to the education and protection of children.

"On top of that, he is an extremely nice person and brilliant with the children."

Sarah Prouten, who has two children at Hayes and one who has now left, said they were apprehensive now the head was leaving because it had been such a good stint.

"He's a real laugh and an excellent head. Many of the head boys and girls at Riddlesdown Collegiate have been to Hayes which is symbolic of the school.

"The children are really sad – my daughter is leaving this year too so it's a bit emotional."

Mr Wilcox said he planned to continue supporting charity, playing music and doing some consulting in his retirement.

Head's farewell after 28 years at the same school


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