THE NEW headteacher of Portsmouth Grammar Junior School says the place has already exceeded his expectations.
Peter Hopkinson, who hails from Manchester, started in his new role in January following the retirement of much-loved Pippa Foster after 10 years in the job.
The 44-year-old father-of-two said: ‘I’ve got big shoes to fill. Pippa did a tremendous job in building the junior school up, providing an enhanced curriculum as well as activities beyond the school day.
‘My job as I see it is to build on that excellent work to continue to raise standards and provision.
‘I feel incredibly proud and honoured to work here – the place has exceeded all my expectations.
‘The children, parents and staff are all working towards a common goal of enjoyment but also hard work. Our staff are tremendously dedicated and enthusiastic which infects the children with a real sense of excitement and willingness to learn.
‘There are 500 youngsters from the age of two to 11, but thanks to small class sizes and fantastic team work this place is more like a big family.
‘I’m honestly still pinching myself - it’s such a privilege to be working here.’
Mr Hopkinson was previously head of similar all-through private schools in Blackpool and Chester.
He has come down to Portsmouth with his wife Michaela, who works at the grammar school as a reception year teaching assistant, and his children Joseph, eight, and Hope, 11, who both attend the school.
Mr Hopkinson said: ‘We’ve settled in as a family really well. Portsmouth is a vibrant place and there is so much on our doorstep for us to discover.
‘We’ve already explored the New Forest and we’re looking forward to spending the summer here by the sea.’
It is still early days, but Mr Hopkinson is a man with a vision.
He said: ‘In the same way that Tony Blair first came into government and set out his ‘education, education, education’ mantra, my philosophy is ‘opportunity, opportunity, opportunity.’