Head steps down for gap year hols

Leaving: Michael Hirst with pupils at Ravenscliffe High School
Leaving: Michael Hirst with pupils at Ravenscliffe High School

A HEAD TEACHER who led Calderdale’s only secondary special school to outstanding status will retire today – and go on a gap year.

Michael Hirst, 55, started at Ravenscliffe High School, Skircoat Green, Halifax, in 1994.

“It’s been a successful 17 years,” he said. “I feel as though I am leaving the school in good order.

“The place is a lot different in terms of facilities, resources and the number of children we can help.”

Mr Hirst estimates he has helped 400 of Calderdale’s most vulnerable children with physical and mental difficulties during his time at the school.

“I will miss it,” he said. “The hardest decision to make was when was the right time to leave.” Following an Ofsted inspection in 2007, the school was awarded outstanding status, making it one of only 12 in the country to be given this recognition.

But Mr Hirst, from Embsay, near Skipton, was keen to avoid taking the credit. Instead he heaped praise on staff at the school.

“It’s been a real team effort. It’s all about the contribution from the people that have worked here.

“I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Mr Hirst, a member of Skipton Golf Club, plans to spend more time on the fairway and go to more sporting events.

Before that he and his wife will plan a trip away.

“We’re going to Madeira for a couple of weeks to plan what to do.

“We are going to do some travelling and then see what happens.

“Gap years hadn’t been invented when I was 18, so now’s my chance.”

Current partner head Martin Moorman will take over the role of head teacher from September.