Head of Southbourne school stepping down

A headteacher who has led the transformation of a Southbourne secondary school into an oversubscribed education centre has announced she will be stepping down in December.

When Margaret Eva took over the reins of the then under-achieving Bourne Community College, she was determined to create, with the support of staff, governors and parents, a school of excellence.

A decade on, the school is a very successful mixed community college whose students are confident, successful and ambitious.

“Being head is the best job in the world,” she said. “I have been very privileged to lead Bourne over the last ten years and have enjoyed every minute.”

Margaret joined the school more than twenty years ago as deputy headteacher. She then became acting headteacher before being appointed substantive head in March 2002.

Margaret added: “I know the community really well and I believe this is really important. We work closely with the junior and infant schools, with parents and the whole of the community of Southbourne.

“The Bourne Community Leisure Centre was built on the school site in partnership with Chichester District Council during my tenure as head. “This has been a terrific asset for the Bourne and Southbourne and our students can enjoy most of their PE in this wonderful leisure centre.”

In June 2010, Margaret was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and she is exceedingly proud of this achievement. 

During her visit to the palace for her investiture, Margaret was amazed at how much the Queen knew about the school.

Margaret accepted the award on behalf of the whole school because she believes the success of the school has been very much a team effort. 

Following the announcement of her retirement at the end of the autumn term, Margaret has been approached by the British Council with the possibility of training and developing headteachers and leaders in schools abroad. 

She is looking forward to the possibility of building on the exciting experiences she has had training leaders and teachers in West Africa and in Shanghai and Beijing during recent years.

But for now Mrs Eva is enjoying the moment and reflecting on her time at the school.

She said: “We have the most inspirational teachers and support staff at the Bourne, all of whom share an incredible determination that all our students at the Bourne will succeed.

“Parents, teachers, governors and trust partners have all ensured the school has flourished. The school enjoys an enviable partnership where everyone is focused on the success of our students.”

Margaret said she is looking forward to travelling when she retires, visiting her grandchildren and children who live in Chichester and New York.