Bolitho School's new head Gordon McGinn promises better community links
THE new head of Penzance’s only private school plans to reach out to the local community “so that we can help them and they can help us”.
Gordon McGinn has taken up the reins at GEMS Bolitho School following a two-year stint from Clive Keevil, and, together with his aims for closer community involvement, he also wants to “raise the bar – academically, in sport, in music and in drama”.
The 60-year-old had planned to retire after teaching maths for 34 years at KCS Wimbledon – last year ranked as the top-performing International Baccalaureate school in the world – but was headhunted for the Bolitho position by GEMS.
And, although he is only a few days into the job, he is relishing his first foray into headship.
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“There is so much potential down here,” he said.
“Coming from leafy Wimbledon it is great to come down here – Cornwall is such a beautiful county which I know from regular visits to the Ruan Minor-Cadgwith area when I was a teenager; I was chuffed to pieces when I was approached about the job.”
As recently as four and a half years ago there were grave doubts about whether Bolitho had a future and only an 11th rescue package by the international school management company, GEMS, saved the school from closure.
And Mr McGinn is quick to appreciate the backing given by GEMS, which already includes a £500,000 investment into an impressive new classroom building for children of nursery and primary school age.
“GEMS are quite correctly analytical about what goes on but also massively helpful and supportive.”
To improve links with the local community, Mr McGinn is already putting plans into motion.
He intends to hold Christmas parties at the school for elderly folk, he is in talks with the Fisherman’s Mission about holding a fundraising concert at the school and he also hopes to put on a series of stimulating academic lectures which would be open to the general public.
As a former top class hockey player who coached cricket and hockey at KCS Wimbledon, Mr McGinn still retains a keen interest in sport – he plans to join West Cornwall Golf Club and has seen the Cornish Pirates in action at one of their warm-up games.
But he insists his main interest is in raising the profile of GEMS Bolitho among the people of West Cornwall.
“I want the people of Penzance to know that something strong and interesting is happening here,” he added.
“I am an optimist by nature. I love meeting people and I want them to come into our school so that we can help them and they can help us.”