Sixth Form principal set to retire

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Scarborough Sixth Form College principal Tom Potter is stepping down from the role after 37 years at the college.

He will be handing over the reins to vice principal Marcus Towse, who will become principal on January 1.

Sixth Form College 'Retiring principal Tom Potter,left shakes hands with Marcus Towse who will take over on the 1st January.'Picture by Neil Silk  124826d'29/11/12

Sixth Form College 'Retiring principal Tom Potter,left shakes hands with Marcus Towse who will take over on the 1st January.'Picture by Neil Silk 124826d'29/11/12

Mr Potter started work at the college in 1975 as assistant teacher of biology, which was his first teaching role.

He said: “I thought it would be a good practise interview, but I didn’t think I’d take the job.

“But I loved it straight away and I can honestly say there hasn’t been a day since that I haven’t wanted to come in to work.”

Mr Potter was then given responsibility for heading up pre vocational courses for students who were weak academically.

He said: “It was about developing their personality and was very successful.

“There is a danger of writing students off if they haven’t achieved at GCSE, but every male student on the first year of the course went on to study for a degree.”

Mr Potter added: “I really enjoyed it - there were some serious characters in there!”

He then became head of biology, assistant principal, vice principal and finally principal in 2003.

He has seen many changes over the years, one being the number of students which has doubled to just over 1,000.

Mr Potter added: “It’s a more caring and supportive environment than it used to be. It’s very significant - the different strands of support are huge.”

He said that teaching has also improved and that the building and facilities are better than ever.

“We’ve spent £3 million over the last few years,” said Mr Potter. “I couldn’t have dreamt it nine years ago.”

The transformation has included a new music block, new classrooms, a social area and revamped library.

Mr Potter says one of his highlights during his time at the college has been his involvement in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

He said: “There used to be 30 to 40 students doing it and now there are about 200.

“It allows you to see more closely the distance students travel while they’re here. You get you know them in a different way.”

He has also paid tribute to all the people he has worked with over the years, saying: “I’ve worked with so many inspirational staff, who are so talented and skilled.

“It’s always been a privilege to work here.”

Mr Potter says he decided to retire as it’s time for someone else to take over the reins.

He said: “I didn’t see myself doing it for longer than six years.

“I’m very confident that Marcus can do the job and he deserves that chance.”

Mr Potter, who has six children, is now looking forward to spending more time with his family and is planning to visit his son who lives in Sydney.

He has also got a number of home improvement projects in the pipeline at his house in Dalby Forest.

Mr Potter said: “I feel I’m leaving the college in a strong position, but there’s always lots more that can still be done.”

• Go to www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk to watch a video interview.