A popular history teacher described as “part of the fixtures and fittings” is retiring after almost 40 years at West Craven High School.
Roy Barnes (62) leaves his position at the Kelbrook Road school after 39 years and will be remembered by generations of people who have passed through the school.
Mr Barnes began teaching as a fresh faced 23-year-old in August, 1975 at Barnoldswick Secondary Modern. Beginning as a history teacher; over the years he progressed to head of history, head of Year 10, assistant head of upper school, assistant headteacher in 2000 then assistant deputy headteacher in 2007.
Mr Barnes took a back seat from teaching around 18 months ago to assist with other projects including helping with the preparation for Ofsted who visited in November, 2013, later rating it as “good”, and more recently with the state-of-the-art new building and refurbishment of the school.
Fond memories Mr Barnes has of his time at West Craven include camp school and the school exchange visits with Grass Junior High School in Minnesota in 1993 and 1995 as well as the memorable bomb squad visit to detonate a suspect package in 2006.
Mr Barnes said: “It feels a bit strange. People have been asking me about what I’m going to do but I haven’t really thought about it too much really.
“I enjoy reading and we have a static home at Paythorne which we like to visit and go up into the Dales. We’ll probably be looking after the grandchildren as well.
“I’ve seen many changes. We were a secondary modern, then comprehensive education came in, we’ve had technology college special status and now we’re back to being West Craven High School again.
“Of course we are using interactive whiteboards now and touch screen TVs and tablets. It was unheard of when I started out and it was a bit like ‘what’s a computer?’
“I have some great memories too. The American exchanges were great fun. The children loved seeing green grass because it’s all brown in the Mid West and the other thing they couldn’t get over was roundabouts, which we went around three or four times.
“When the bomb squad came from Catterick, that was a crazy day.
“I’ve worked with some fantastic colleagues. I’ve always tried to do my best at the school. Maybe when I haven’t always had the solution to a problem, I may have helped in a different way.
“With the new building, in a sense it feels like it’s ‘over to them’ and the new generation to take the school into its next chapter.”
Also retiring today from a 20-year teaching career is Head of Maths, Robert Townson, who has spent nine years at West Craven High School.
During his time at the Kelbrook Road school, Mr Townson has been involved in organising trips, everywhere from the Trafford Centre to Switzerland.
During his retirement, Mr Townson hopes to spend his time running his business and partaking in his many hobbies including walking, hiking, cycling, painting, holidays and buying and selling.
Headteacher Craig Baker said: “Mr Barnes has worked here his entire life; serving this community, looking after these children.
“His commitment to the school is astonishing. He’s the first one in and last one out everyday which I’m sure he has done for the last 40 years.
“He knows the building inside out, always checking it to make sure its safe. He is a massive asset to the school.
“An awful lot of people know him and know what he has contributed to the lives of other people.
“Mr Townson is also leaving to retire and we wish them both all the best in their retirement.”