Head retires as school is hit by funding axe

Brian Shimell
Brian Shimell
From left, Elissa Curtis, LAET Brady and Mason Parker. Picture: PO Phot Nicola Harper

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THE HEAD of a school whose much-needed renovation work was axed by the government has announced his retirement.

Brian Shimell, of Priory School in Southsea, admits securing the £15m Building Schools for the Future funding would have given him a reason to stay in his job. But the government’s decision to pull the funding helped him make up his mind to step down.

He said: ‘BSF would have been a reason to stay a little longer but that is no longer compelling.

‘We were in line for a £15m makeover. It looks now like another 150 years of “make do”. The new government has promised a capital programme so we must wait and see.’

Mr Shimell joined Priory in 1997 after a seven-year deputy headship in County Durham.

He held several heads of department and teaching posts before then, having started his career in Staffordshire. The 61-year-old, who says he has ‘come of age’ and is looking forward to retiring from a ‘fantastically stimulating but also exhausting career’ is immensely proud of what Priory has achieved.

He said: ‘Our young people go on to do great things with their lives and I believe the values we have promoted will serve them very well in the years to come.

‘There is also our last Ofsted which was good with many outstanding features. It was no surprise that care, guidance and support was rated outstanding.

‘Becoming the first sports college in Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton was also a great achievement for a school on an inner city site with only blades of plastic grass!

‘We took that vision further and achieved the construction of the foremost school and community leisure centre in mid-city Portsmouth.

‘But if you ask me when I am most proud of the school’s achievements, it is every year at our prize-giving and certificate evenings.’

An advertisement for Mr Shimell’s successor went out on February 11. Interviews are due to take place in the first week of April.

Asked what he will miss most about Priory, the science enthusiast said: ‘The boundless enthusiasm of our young people, their determination to make a difference and their passion for a better world.’


Education reporter