July 2010 - Director of Studies retires after 36 years

John Ahern, Director of Studies at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School has retired after 36 years service at the School. In a special assembly, Headmaster Paul Spencer Ellis explained to pupils aged 7-16, that many of their parents had not even been born when Mr Ahern started teaching at their school!

Things were a bit different in Surrey schools when John Ahern came for his interview for a teaching job thirty six years ago. There was a centralised recruitment system for Surrey teaching posts so when he came for his interview he had no idea which school he would be placed in if successful. Mr Ahern, a PE teacher was successful and was sent to the Royal Alexandra and Albert School. The School had not been told he was coming so it was a surprise to them when he turned up on his first day. There was no PE vacancy so he became a teacher of History and English!

Mr Ahern quickly settled in to his new school and eventually moved to become a PE teacher. The main sport in PE was football at the time, but with his welsh roots, Mr Ahern was keen to introduce rugby. Rugby has now become one of the main sports at the School with teams competing successfully against teams from local schools.

Off the sports pitch, Mr Ahern was highly regarded by both pupils and colleagues. For the last 10 years he has been part of the Senior Leadership Team in his role as Director of Studies. It was this team that was responsible for managing the school towards its achievement of ‘Outstanding’ in its Ofsted inspection in 2008.

Headmaster, Paul Spencer Ellis said “John has had a remarkable 36 years at this school. He started as a PE teacher and has become a key member of the Senior Leadership Team. He will be missed by pupils and colleagues but we all wish him a long and happy retirement.”

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