Lauded leader turns trainer

Like an outstanding Premiership soccer manager, Clive Hampton has kept his school, Eirias high at Colwyn Bay, at or near the top of the league, year after year.

The school has won a string of accolades, including five teaching awards.

Mr Hampton, 57, was Welsh secondary head of the year in 2004.

But after nearly 20 years he has hung up his boots, and is starting a new career as a school improvement adviser in Trafford and Stoke-on-Trent - and as a trainer of prospective headteachers studying the National Professional Qualification for Headship.

And he says talented teachers who may have reservations about applying for headships should not be put off.

"Though there seems to be a national shortage of candidates it is nevertheless the best job in the school," he says.

"Despite your sleepless nights and the responsibility, it is a great privilege to lead a school and play an important part in something which, next to your health, I consider to be the most important thing in life - to ensure people get a high-quality education.

"I hope that anyone thinking of a headship will be inspired to apply and won't be put off by some of the more challenging aspects of the job. So many heads are going to be retiring over the next 10 years, and we need to have people of high calibre to replace them or there will be difficulties ahead."

Mr Hampton, who switched to teaching after working in the mining industry, has seen Eirias high grow from 870 pupils to 1,520 now, with 85 teachers and 15 teaching assistants. He sees the school's greatest achievement as getting a GCSE pass rate of up to 80 per cent, and 100 per cent for A-levels.

In nearly 20 years Mr Hampton has seen many changes, including pound;5 million being spent on new buildings. He accepts, however, that there has been a change in pupils' behaviour - and for the worse.

"Most of our children are wonderful young people who enjoy school, are happy and work hard. But, like all schools, we do have some who are very challenging and I would say their behaviour is more extreme," he says.

Geraint James, head of secondary education services for Conwy, said: "Clive has achieved a great deal in his 20 years as head of Eirias, and his high-quality leadership and management is recognised locally, regionally and nationally.

"His achievements are demonstrated by his attainments at the school. We are grateful to him for securing the good standards of learning and teaching, which have been recognised by external school inspectors."

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