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Clackmannanshire Council Online

Alva Academy Head Teacher Retires

Published on:


July 2012

John MeneyJohn Meney, head teacher at Alva Academy, said an emotional farewell this week, as he retired from teaching.

It ended an eight and a half year association with the school having taken over as Head Teacher on 1st February, 2004, having been previously Rector at Brechin High School. Prior to that all of John's teaching career had been in Ayrshire.

Originally from Kilwinning in Ayrshire, John plans to return to his native area and is moving back to Troon to spend his retirement.

Convenor of Clackmannanshire Council's Education Committee, Councillor Ellen Forson, said: "We are indebted to the many years of care and total dedication John has given to education, not just in Clackmannanshire, but throughout his career in various schools around Scotland. We wish him and his new wife a long and happy retirement."

He began his teaching career at Ardrossan Academy in 1977 and was there for nine years until moving on to Grange Academy in Kilmarnock. From there he taught at Auchenharvie Academy in Stevenston before becoming depute head at Ayr Academy and then on to Brechin High.

John graduated from teacher training college at Jordanhill College and Glasgow University, as a physics and maths teacher, until promotion took him out of the classroom,

John recalled: "Those were the days when you would finish your training and be in a hall with all the local authorities from around the country and you could go up to any desk and give your name and your subject. As soon as I said physics, the answer back was 'what school would you like'. It is much harder to get a job nowadays."

The retiring head teacher's main legacy will be having overseen the massive move from the former Alva Academy building to the new state-of-the-art building where the school is now based, the new school opening its doors for the first time three years past in April.

John added: "I terms of the changes over the years, I've been very fortunate to oversee the change from the old school at Alva Academy to the new school. It has provided fantastic facilities here and these are world leading facilities at Alva Academy.

"I said at the school prize giving last week how forward thinking Clackmannanshire Council was and instead of getting people to create a school off a drawing board, they actually went out and talked to the people who were going to be in the schools. The council have to be commended on the way they went about the project.

"The facilities we have make a difference and the consultation which took place was first rate. We have become much more child centred in education and have tailored our teaching much more to individual children and we listen to children, and what is working for them and how we could do things differently. That is a difference on the emphasis of culture. There is now a bigger focus on the child rather than delivering the lesson."

John admitted that leaving the school last week was an emotional moment.

He went on: "I always said I would retire the summer after my 60th birthday, this is the summer after my 59th, so I'm retiring a year earlier than I had intended, not because I'm desperate to go, as I love my job."

In retirement John, a keen golfer, is hoping to get his handicap down. He is also aiming to return to his former hobby of rock climbing.

John re-married in January of this year. Ironically his wife Arlene, deputy head teacher at Stewarton Academy in Ayrshire is due to retire in September. They each have two children from previous marriages.

"We both enjoy travelling and have plans to travel a lot. I have a daughter in Australia and in January we have plans to head off on a round the world tour and visit Australia on the way. I've never seen where she lives and works, so I'm looking forward to that. She's been out there for two years."

To mark his retirement, John was naturally showered with many gifts and cards at a special presentation night out.

He added: "People have been very kind, and I would like to thank them all. I've had lots of people coming in to see me from around the community, all wishing me well, so it's been very humbling."