Head of school attended by Tom Dean, Zadie Smith and Rachel Yankey set to retire
- Credit: Giles Deards
The headteacher of a Brondesbury Park primary school is retiring from her role having also been a pupil there more than 50 years ago.
Sian Davies has stepped down as executive headteacher of Malorees Infant and Junior School after 25 years in a leadership role.
The 60-year-old first attended the Christchurch Avenue school as a six-year-old and said she will "miss the buzz" of the "exceptional community" of staff, pupils and parents.
"The connection with the local area and community was really strong, I went right the way through, so did my sister. It was a different era but I always remember the expansive sense of nature, space and strong teaching."
Sian saw the job for deputy head position at the school in 1996 while working as a teacher in Soho.
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She said: "I was so compelled to apply for a job as deputy, oh my goodness, this is my school, it's so exciting. It was quite something to go back to somewhere where I was so strongly connected to. Over the years, there have been quite a few parents who have been through the school as well, and a couple of members of staff who were former pupils.
"We're like boomerangs, we come back. It does give a real sense of passion and commitment for somewhere that you can't really describe easily as it’s so unique."
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Over the last 25 years she has enjoyed various roles at the school, including 21 years as leading the infants school.
In 2017 the infants and juniors became a federated school, with one governing body, and she was invited to oversee both schools as executive head teacher.
Any recent issues over proposed restructuring of staff roles she said had for the most part "blown over".
"I knew [becoming executive head] was going to be challenge but equally my core purpose for doing that was to really enable greater stability and continuity at the school.
"The school is my family, it's more than a job, it's become a place of huge connection for me, of aspiration, family and community and Malorees does have an exceptional school community.
"The support of governors, parents and staff is really strong and I hope that my role over the years has contributed strongly to that. That's what I ultimately hope is my legacy.
"Now we have our own legacy of former pupils. We have had Zadie Smith, Rachel Yankey and now we have Tom Dean, the double gold medalist, I feel like a very proud school mum."
The grandmother of two boys handed in her notice last year but navigated the school during the coronavirus pandemic.
"As a leader you do have to lead with kindness and compassion and integrity and I really will hold testament to that."
Due to Covid restrictions it was not possible to hold a leaving celebration as planned. However, the assemblies in the school grounds ‘’didn't lose the magic of Malorees".
Pupils and staff made a "beautiful" ceramic plaque in her honour with an inscription as "head gardener" .
"I've been really humbled to be part of this community and see it evolve over 25 years," she added.
"I've left with a mixture of emotions but I have an exciting new chapter to look forward to, things don't all shut down when you retire. I hope I can use my educational experience in the future but I don't know what that looks like right now, I just want a little time and space to reflect and to enjoy new opportunities ahead of me."
School governor Giles Deards said: "It's hard to think of a more universally loved headteacher.
"Sian has built a very strong reputation for Malorees as an inclusive community where children are carefully nurtured and encouraged, and leaders have not been fixated on exams and numbers-driven 'outputs'.
"She has worked tirelessly to encourage her teams to always spend time talking and getting to know every child and also to actively seek the partnership of parents in driving forward the school vision."
He added: "It is really sad to be losing Sian. She has the most calm nature and is respected so highly by the whole school community.
"We had planned the most amazing send -off, a Midsummer Night's Gathering, and it's upsetting that this and so many events have been cancelled because of Covid.
"It feels like she's missed the most deserved of send-offs because of this.
"Sian has made such a contribution to thousands of children's lives."