Westergate school bids farewell to ‘legend’

Chris Burton with the whistle at this year's sports day
Chris Burton with the whistle at this year's sports day
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A teacher has retired after 32 years serving the secondary school community of the Six Villages.

Chris Burton first joined the former Westergate Community School in 1984 in a temporary job teaching Religious Studies at KS3.

In a statement from Ormiston Six Villages Academy, it said: “He obviously made a great impact as he was quickly made a permanent member of staff and went on to establish the RS department, offering the option of Religious Studies at GCSE.”

Mr Burton’s most recent role was as head of advice and humanities.

At the end of year assembly he was presented with gifts by head boy Finlay Champion and head girl Nina Zander.

While comments came flooding in from staff, students and their families, both past and present, to enable a tribute book to also be presented to him on the last day, it was deputy head boy Charlie Duncton that summed it up. He said: “Mr Burton, you are a legend, and we will miss you.”

Taking the microphone, Mr Burton said: “Many people have said to me, ‘I’d hate to be trapped in a job for 32 years’. But I’m not trapped—I choose to be here and when I was your age I chose to be the best I could be. And I’ve proved myself right; the best word in the world is ‘choices’. Achieve the best you possibly can; if you’ve done that, you’ve succeeded.”

He outlined some career highlights, including a geography field trip to Kenya, where he recalled demonstrated his skills in handling deadly creatures.

In his own words, Mr Burton deemed himself to be ‘something of an expert’ with the scorpions that ventured into the students’ dormitories.

He told how he was ‘happily picking them up and handling them to show the students—all until he was told by a field worker that these species were actually one of the most deadly and could kill a human within hours without a suitable antidote’.

Mr Burton added: “It has been fantastic to work in the Six Villages as part of this community. I get a buzz when students say to me, ‘You taught my uncle/dad/auntie…’ - and even more so at parents’ evenings where I have had parents themselves saying, ‘Do you remember me?!

“Current students will probably remember me for being very untidy, but hopefully also for helping them to learn and develop both in their formal education and in life skills, and perhaps most importantly for being fair and just in the treatment of members of our school community.”