Published: 15:00, 24 March 2021
| Updated: 16:51, 24 March 2021
A head teacher who has worked in the county for four decades will be retiring later this year.
Alan Brookes, executive head teacher of Fulston Manor Academy Trust in Sittingbourne, and chair of the Kent Association of Head Teachers (KAHT), will be say goodbye to the job at the end of the academic year.
Mr Brookes has been in teaching for 45 years and spent 39 of those at the school in Brenchley Road where he became head in 1996.
His replacement is head teacher Susie Burden, who takes over as head of the trust.
Reflecting on his career, where he started out teaching English at a boys’ school in London, he said: “It’s been an absolute privilege. I’ve enjoyed every day. It seems like a long time looking back but it’s gone very quickly.
“Education is just one of the great jobs and is incredibly important. It’s the foundation of everything.
“I’ve worked beyond Fulston in terms of being chair of the Kent Association of Head Teachers where I’ve been able to connect with other heads across the county.
'It’s the most important job in the world'
“I’ve met amazing colleagues, great young students, great families, taught parents and their children and in some cases grandchildren.”
Mr Brookes praised incoming executive head teacher Susie Burden as the “ideal person to move the school forward”.
When asked about how teaching has changed over four decades he explained: “People don’t change much, at the very root they are the same and that doesn’t change a great deal.
“Technology changes, such as when the first computer arrived in schools and people were saying it wouldn’t catch on.
"At the heart of it it’s still about relationships with students, care and compassion and developing young people to take their place in society. It’s the most important job in the world.”
Matt Dunkley, Kent County Council’s corporate director for children, young people and education, paid tribute to Mr Brookes.
“Alan Brookes’ retirement is a sad loss to the Kent education community," he said.
"Alan was described by Ofsted as an inspirational and visionary head teacher and he has successfully led Fulston Manor School for many years, before becoming the chief executive officer of the Fulston Manor Academies Trust that includes South Avenue Primary School.
“Alan is well respected by other head teachers and local authority colleagues.
"He took on the chairmanship of the Kent Association of Headteachers (KAH) and has used his position to develop it as a voice for Kent schools, promote school-to-school support, and advocate for pupils across Kent.
'Alan’s leadership has been invaluable during the most challenging year that those of us who work in education have ever experienced'
"He has been a vital player in evolving partnership working between KAH, the local authority and The Education People to support schools during this challenging year.
"Alan’s leadership has been invaluable during the most challenging year that those of us who work in education have ever experienced.
"Local authority colleagues thank Alan for all he has done for Kent schools and the children of Kent and we wish him a relaxing and enjoyable retirement.”