Belmont says farewell to head

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Pupils, parents and staff at Belmont Grosvenor have said a fond farewell to their long-serving Headteacher who has guided the school to three ‘outstanding’ inspections.

Jane Merriman has retired after 13 years at the helm of ‘outstanding and excellent’ co-educational prep, based at Swarcliffe Hall, Birstwith.

Mrs Merriman, who started her teaching career 35 years ago in Middlesborough, joined Belmont in 2005 when it taught children from four-13 years.

Her arrival coincided with changes in the wider education world and Mrs Merriman was instrumental in introducing a children’s nursery, Magic Tree, enabling the school to accept pupils from the age of three months, and bringing the leaving age of BGS children down to 11 years.

During her time, Mrs Merriman, a keen sportswoman, introduced ski trips for Year 6 pupils, set up a pupil leadership team, and promoted the BGS award – a Duke of Edinburgh-style scheme to develop leadership, life skills and confidence for pupils moving onto their choice of secondary school.

“I am grateful to all the parents throughout the 13 years I have been at BGS for entrusting their most precious gifts, their children, to us, and for allowing us to work our magic with them,” said Mrs Merriman.

“There has never been a day gone by when these children haven’t amazed me with what they have done and achieved, and they have always put a smile on my face.

“I’ve also loved seeing Reception children on their very first day at school, wearing their oversized uniform, all ready for their big adventure. It is joyous and I will definitely miss it.”

Mrs Merriman added: “I am always thrilled to see how accomplished our children become through their years at BGS and how their skills are developed.

“Every child has a talent and we endeavor to find it. It takes a little longer with some children than others, but we always uncover it and it is wonderful to see what rounded individuals they become. I feel privileged and proud to have been a part of this for the past 13 years,” she added.

“None of this would be have been possible without the support of all the parents and the experienced and enthusiastic staff we have here,” she said.

“I am going to miss Belmont Grosvenor and its wonderful setting here in 20-ares of grounds, but I know the school will continue to thrive and move into its next chapter under the capable headship of Mrs Sophia Ashworth Jones,” she added.

In retirement, Mrs Merriman, along with husband Tony, is looking forward to travelling – the couple’s hit list includes re-visiting South, exploring Central America and South East Asia, as well as completing some world-wide cycling challenges, and spending time with family and friends.

And although she won’t be Headteacher at Belmont Grosvenor School after September, Mrs Merriman is still heavily involved in education – as an Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) inspector, and governor at two schools in the north East.

Gordon Milne, Chairman of the Governors at Belmont Grosvenor said Mrs Merriman had made an outstanding contribution to the success of the school during the past 13 years as Headteacher.

“The board of Governors are grateful to Mrs Merriman for her superb leadership during the past 13 years at BGS.

“Her boundless enthusiasm, commitment and drive have been instrumental in guiding Belmont Grosvenor School to three outstanding inspections, and she has promoted a series of improvements and developments that have left BGS in fabulous health.

“We wish her well in her retirement,” he said.