Popular York headteacher announces retirement
The headteacher of a popular York primary school has announced her early retirement.
Debbie Cousins, headteacher at Hob Moor Community Primary Academy in Acomb, York, plans to step down at the end of the summer term after 35 years working in education.
Last autumn, Ofsted inspectors rated Hob Moor a ‘good school’ and concluded that it is: “a school that provides opportunities for pupils to grow in a caring environment.”
“I have always been passionate about providing an education that every child can access and one that can give skills and memories for life,” Mrs Cousins said. “I will certainly leave Hob Moor with many happy memories.”
Olympic swimmer James Wilby and professional footballer Sam Byram are among the thousands of children that have passed through schools where Mrs Cousins either taught or was a school leader.
After leaving Cardiff University and then qualifying as a teacher at Liverpool University, Mrs Cousins’ first teaching job was in Nottingham, for two years, before moving to York.
She spent 18 years at Ralph Butterfield Primary School in Haxby, where she met Richard Ludlow who went on to establish Ebor Academy Trust which now includes Hob Moor in its 23 schools.
‘Reach for the stars’
Mrs Cousins was deputy head at Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy and then head of school at Hob Moor Primary. She then spent five years as headteacher at Lakeside Primary Academy and five years at Hob Moor Primary.
“I can still remember my very first school, when a child in Year 1 designed my wedding invitation. I love children’s artwork and after 35 years have built quite a collection of beautiful drawings which I will treasure forever.”
Mrs Cousins – who says her personal motto is “reach for the stars” – has inspired a love for education throughout her family. Her daughter Angharad is an English teacher in central London and son Rhys is also hoping to train as a maths teacher.
Other than spending more time with her family and her mum in Shropshire, she says she has no firm plans as to what to do from September, but it will include supporting children and young people in some capacity – and perhaps getting a dog. Mrs Cousins will also be helping her daughter to plan her wedding next year.
“It has been an absolute privilege to work alongside the fantastic Hob Moor community and I’d especially like to say a special thank you to the staff. It has been an honour to lead such a dedicated, hard-working team and work in such a happy school.”
Stephanie Windsor, chair of governors at Hob Moor Community Primary Academy, said: “Ofsted inspectors accurately reported what we already knew about our school with Mrs Cousins’ courageous direction – that it has a broad and ambitious curriculum, has high expectations of its pupils and places emphasis on staff development. All this is due to Mrs Cousins’ commendable leadership.
“What inspectors don’t get to see because they don’t have the time is the passion and caring that Mrs Cousins has nurtured during her time with us. We will miss her but want to thank her for the positive difference she has made to our school.”
Gail Brown, chief executive of Ebor Academy Trust, of which Hob Moor is a part, said: “Debbie’s legacy of compassion and ambition will continue at Hob Moor and she leaves us in the summer with our grateful thanks and very best wishes for the future.”
A recruitment process to appoint a new headteacher starts shortly.