Headteacher bids fond farewell to Potters Bar primary school

Alan Cocker at Cranborne Primary School. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School

Alan Cocker at Cranborne Primary School. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School - Credit: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School

Cranborne Primary School’s headteacher is moving on after 12 years of service.

The headteacher (background) joins in the fun. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School

The headteacher (background) joins in the fun. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School - Credit: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School

The headteacher of Cranborne Primary School says he is “privileged” to have had the support of staff and families during his 12 years at the school.

His next steps take him over 4,000 miles away to a deputy headteacher position at a school in Abu Dhabi.

Alan Cocker, who got his teaching qualifications at the University of Hertfordshire, joined Cranborne as headteacher in 2006 and never looked back.

Before he started there, a 2002 Ofsted report noted that maths, English and sciences was between “average” and “well below average” on the national scale.

Alan Cocker and a pupil at Cranborne Primary School. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School

Alan Cocker and a pupil at Cranborne Primary School. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School - Credit: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School


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The school had a deficit, and had had three headteachers in three years before he arrived.

By the school’s latest inspection report in September 2017, the school was rated “good”.

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“It was a bit of a lost ship,” Alan recalled.

“It’s been a phenomenal journey and I’m really proud of the school.

Alan Cocker and a pupil at Cranborne Primary School. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School

Alan Cocker and a pupil at Cranborne Primary School. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School - Credit: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School

“What helped was getting the trust of the community,” he said, he said, adding that he also put a lot of emphasis on developing staff skills.

He said: “Together we created a belief that we would improve together.”

Now, he says, it’s time to fulfil a personal dream of travelling with his family, in his new job at the British International School of Abu Dhabi.

But Alan heads to the Middle East with a lot of great memories.

A day of festivities with Cranborne Primary School. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School

A day of festivities with Cranborne Primary School. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School - Credit: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School

“They include dancing, singing and laughter on school journeys.

“There’s one special memory of a hairy ride in a wheelchair whilst at Robin Hill Country Park ending in fits of laughter at the bottom of a grassy hill - this will stay with me and my team forever!”

The most satisfying part was seeing the pupils thrive.

He said: “Other memories are seeing our children do so well – in our music concerts, sporting events, taking part in carnival, our summer fairs, fireworks, the magic of young children in their first Christmas play and the confidence of Y6 leavers in their final productions and assemblies.

Sporting events at Cranborne Primary School. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School

Sporting events at Cranborne Primary School. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School - Credit: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School

“Seeing success in our children and seeing them add value to the world we live in are probably my greatest memories and remind me of how privileged I am to be a headteacher with such amazing committed staff and supportive families.

“I will miss them all.”

Alan Cocker at Cranborne Primary School. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School

Alan Cocker at Cranborne Primary School. Picture: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School - Credit: Supplied by Cranborne Primary School

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