Rastrick principal to retire after 20 years at the top

Principal Brendan Heneghan
Principal Brendan Heneghan

A school principal who has helped shape the curriculum of boys with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties has retired from teaching after 27 years.

Brendan Heneghan has been at the William Henry Smith School for 27 years, 20 of which he has been principal.

The William Henry Smith school in Rastrick

The William Henry Smith school in Rastrick

He says that the time is now right to take the school forward.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to work at the William Henry Smith School for so long and even more so to have had the opportunity to lead the school,” he said.

“I have worked with some fantastic staff and nearly 800 boys during my time here and I genuinely believe that every single one of them has benefitted in some way from their time at ‘Bill Smiths’.

“The school has never been in a better position in terms of what we are able to offer our boys, and I am confident that under Sue’s inspirational leadership it will continue to go from strength to strength and continue to be a place which goes out of its way to best meet the very particular needs of our students.”

Mr Heneghan is also a founding member of Engage, a national organisation giving a collective voice, offering peer support and promoting the sharing of good practice across schools.

He has been influential in organisations such as National Association of Non-maintained and Independent Special Schools, FSLE and The National SEND Forum amongst many others.

Sue Ackroyd, who will become principal in September, said: “Brendan started the school as deputy head teacher, making some crucial changes and pushing forward fresh thinking for the benefit of our boys and staff.

"His work with the Department for Education, lobbying Parliament and key Ministers, influencing policy, has had a significant impact on our school and others facing similar challenges across the country.

"He became principal of the school in 1997 and has continued to drive core purpose and values around providing quality outcomes for children and championing the introduction of on-site therapeutic services as a means to support every changing and challenging health needs.

"Brendan has put the school on the map of excellent schools and has laid the foundations for local, regional and national recognition.