Governor retiring after 30 years at her school

Phyllis Lockwood who is retiring as chair of Southfield School for Girls with pupils who performed at her celebration concert
Phyllis Lockwood who is retiring as chair of Southfield School for Girls with pupils who performed at her celebration concert

A chairman of governors who has seen five school headteachers come and go and steered staff and pupils through crises and successes is retiring after 30 years.

Phyllis Lockwood, of Geddington, is stepping down as chairman of governors for Southfield School for Girls in Kettering at the end of the month.

Mrs Lockwood, who became a parent governor when her daughter joined the school in 1981, said: “There have been many challenges over the years. Many governors have come and gone but I’ve gone on forever.

“There won’t be any others who stay for 30 years.”

Upon joining Mrs Lockwood, who will continue as a governor of Geddington Primary School, immediately helped spearhead a successful campaign for the school to stay open after it was threatened with closure because of its single-sex status.

In 2003 the entire school had to be moved into temporary classrooms that became known as “mobile city” for seven months after workmen disturbed asbestos during the school holidays. Students’ coursework, computers and teaching materials were lost in the incident, which required a £6.5m refit.

But the specialist sports college, which Ofsted ranked as good with outstanding features last year, has seen many successes, including many pupils going on to Oxford and Cambridge.

The school, which was grant maintained for several years in the 1990s, is set to become an academy on August 1.

Mrs Lockwood said: “I think it’s a good thing.

“It’s the way schools are going. It’s a step forward.”

Staff and pupils held a celebration concert for Mrs Lockwood last Tuesday. Britain’s Got Talent star Faryl Smith, who has just finished her GCSEs at the school, sang a solo and staff performed a song on the piano, violin and flute.

Mrs Lockwood, who lectured in secretarial studies at Tresham College for 40 years, said: “I shall miss the students.

“I’m a teacher and I loved my job and I loved the students.”

Headteacher Sue Dunford, who has served alongside Mrs Lockwood for five-and-a-half years, said: “She will be sorely missed.

“She’s done so much for Southfield over the years.”