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Top Teachers Retire


On the left is Angela Sweet and Alex Stanbrook-Evans with some of the children from Hethersett Junior School and on the right John Humphreys hands over the teaching baton to Tim Bolderstone following his retirement from Hethersett High School.

Three of Hethersett’s best loved and well known teachers have retired. 

Between them Angela Sweet, John Humphreys and Alex Stanbrook-Evans have clocked up almost 70 years of teaching in the village – Angela and Alex at Hethersett Junior School and John at Hethersett High School. 

John Humphreys joined the staff of Hethersett High School 29 years ago as Head of Languages, after five years teaching in Bowthorpe. Over the years he has specialised in French and Russian but also taught Spanish and during his tenure in Norfolk has also worked at the University of East Anglia in supporting their Russian language and PGCE sections. 

John, who originally comes from Stockport, says that he has found working in Hethersett both as a teacher and member of the senior management team to be “hugely rewarding.” 

“I backed away from applying for Headship as I never really grew up and have always loved being in the classroom. Working at a senior level and supporting teachers has been hugely rewarding. Hethersett High has been a wonderful place to work and I would have no qualms in my grandchildren coming here. We have had some tough times recently but I have no doubt the school will quickly rise to where it should be. 

“I hope that I have left a positive mark on the school and I will be remembered for all the right reasons. I certainly hope that the positives outweigh the negatives” he said. 

John came to Norwich almost by accident: "I wasn't certain that I would stay in teaching but I saw a job advertised in Norwich. I had no idea where Norwich was. I came out of the railway station, saw the river and thought I was at the seaside. I had an interview for a job at Bowthorpe and didn't expect to get it. That made me very relaxed at the interview and they must have been happy with what I had to offer," he said.

He is hoping that his language skills can be put to good use in the next phase of his career as he trains to become an accredited guide in his adopted city of Norwich. "It will make me very proud to be able to show the City off," he said.

He is also not ruling out a return to the classroom in a voluntary capacity and is hoping to indulge his other hobbies which include reading, travelling and cooking:

"My mum was a cook in the army but she encouraged me to do something else as a career. Certainly catering wasn't glamorous with long hours."

John is also likely to spend time in Wales where his son is renovating an old chapel.

One of the biggest tributes to John Humphreys on his final day came from Hethersett High School’s instructor in French Tim Bolderstone who was taught the language by the man he looks up to as his mentor. Tim is now moving to Bristol to undertake his own PGCE with a view to returning to Norfolk as a language teacher. 

“John inspired me and was a driving force in encouraging my love of languages. He had a unique way of inspiring and engaging students and encouraging them to take their language studies further,” he said. 

"If Tim gets half the enjoyment and job satisfaction that I have had he will consider himself a very fortunate man. It has been tough at times but always hugely rewarding," John added.

*                                   *                              *

Alex Stanbrook-Evans joined the staff of Hethersett Middle School (now Hethersett Junior) in 1989 and Angela Sweet just before the turn of the century. Alex previously taught at Blackdale Middle School and Angela in London: 

“Hethersett proved quite a contrast to working in the East End. It’s been a lovely school with lovely children and a fantastic place in which to end my career,” Angela Sweet said. 

“The staff at Hethersett have always been so friendly and welcoming,” Alex added. Both agree that Hethersett Junior has always been “very innovative and very challenging and certainly never boring with something different always happening.” 

One thing all three teachers are agreed on is that they won’t miss the bureaucracy and ever-increasing demands put on teachers by politicians and governments.