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Bury St Edmunds' Sebert Wood Community Primary School headteacher Peter Dewhurst is retiring at the end of this term



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A headteacher who has led his school for nearly a decade is about to embark on retirement – but he won’t be leaving the education sector completely.

Peter Dewhurst, 57, has steered Sebert Wood Community Primary School on Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds, through its expansion to a full primary and the next big challenge: the coronavirus pandemic.

He will finish there at the end of the summer term to begin retirement, which will see him work part-time as an education consultant coaching and mentoring headteachers.

Sebert Wood Community Primary School headteacher Peter Dewhurst is retiring from the school at the end of the summer term. Picture: Mark Westley
Sebert Wood Community Primary School headteacher Peter Dewhurst is retiring from the school at the end of the summer term. Picture: Mark Westley

He will also be spending more time with his family, as well as project managing a house renovation and picking up his art paintbrushes again after 20 years.

Speaking of what he is most proud of while at Sebert Wood, Mr Dewhurst said: “I’m proud of the way we supported the whole school community through Covid.

“I’m proud we have got a really good staff team here and proud of the pupils. I will miss the children. I guess that’s the most rewarding thing: changing children’s lives.”

Peter Dewhurst has been in teaching for 34 years. Picture: Mark Westley
Peter Dewhurst has been in teaching for 34 years. Picture: Mark Westley

Mr Dewhurst, a father-of-three who lives in the town, has been in teaching for 34 years and a headteacher for coming up to 20 years in four different schools - three in Suffolk and one in Shanghai in China.

He took over the headship at Sebert Wood from Richard Rice, under whom the school received its last full Ofsted inspection in 2009, achieving a rating of ‘outstanding’.

Mr Dewhurst said the school was ‘ready for inspection’, which he thought would probably have happened had it not been for Covid.

“We are judging ourselves to be good with some outstanding features,” said Mr Dewhurst, who added achieving ‘outstanding’ from Ofsted was very hard these days.

One of the major changes during his time at Sebert Wood was when it expanded to take on additional year groups, due to the School Organisation Review, with the new Year 5 and Year 6 building opening in 2015.

In retirement, Peter Dewhurst will work part-time as an education consultant, spend more time with his family, project manage a house renovation and get back to his hobby of painting abstract art. Picture: Mark Westley
In retirement, Peter Dewhurst will work part-time as an education consultant, spend more time with his family, project manage a house renovation and get back to his hobby of painting abstract art. Picture: Mark Westley

Fast forward to 2020 and Covid. Mr Dewhurst said: “It was change after change, but I have to say the staff were really resilient and the parents were supportive. The children were incredibly resilient.”

The school is advertising for a permanent head to take up the role from January 2023. James Tottie, a deputy head at the school, will be acting head for the autumn term.