A school community has thanked its retiring headteacher for his contribution to children’s education and faith development.

Alan Dewhurst retired as headteacher of St Marie’s School in Sheffield after almost 40 years in education. He will now work part-time for the Diocese of Hallam.

Mr Dewhurst was presented with a papal blessing at his leaving Mass in recognition of his inspirational service to the school.

Alan Dewhurst s

He began his career as a newly-qualified teacher at St Anthony’s Middle School in Slough, Berkshire, in 1978, moving to Sacred Heart Primary School in Middlesex in 1986.

He was appointed deputy head at Sacred Heart and then became head on 1994. In 2000 he moved north as the new headteacher at St Joseph’s Primary School in Matlock, Derbyshire.

Mr Dewhurst took up the role at St Marie’s on Fulwood Road in Sheffield in 2009 and has been an extremely popular headteacher, finally retiring after 37 years in Catholic schools, with 21 years as a headteacher.

At the Thanksgiving Mass for Mr Dewhurst, John Fernandes, the former deputy and new headteacher at St Marie’s, told him on behalf of staff, “Like everyone at St Marie’s we can’t imagine the school without you.

“In the short time you have worked here we have all learnt so much from you and have so much to thank you for. Your encouragement, your trust, your support, your friendship, your faith and especially your leadership.”

Mr Fernandes added, “Our very recent outstanding RE inspection report sums you up perfectly, ‘The inspirational headteacher is passionately committed to providing an outstanding education for every pupil in an inclusive, nurturing and happy environment shaped by Gospel values.’

“We will all miss your calm, controlled presence in school. On behalf of all the staff and children, may God bless you in your semi-retirement.”