As the summer term ends Wellington School’s Deputy Head, Stephen Page, is retiring having been on the staff for 21 years.
He was appointed in 1991 when former Deputy Head Alan Rogers became Headmaster following the sudden death of John Kendal-Carpenter in 1990. At the time the school had been without a Deputy for several months. Stephen came to Wellington from Abingdon School where he was a Housemaster and a member of the Chemistry Department. He was joined by his wife, Sheena, two small children and a two-month-old baby. His wife later joined the Modern Languages Department and all three children were pupils at the school. He provided valuable continuity when Alan Rogers retired in 2006 and Martin Reader became Headmaster.
As well as continuing to teach chemistry, one of his major responsibilities has been discipline but he acknowledges that there have rarely been major problems to contend with from pupils throughout his time at Wellington. “Pupils are friendly, good-natured and hard working. Their families are supportive and interested in what takes place at school and this makes the job so much easier. It is always good to see so many former pupils return each year who still feel a strong attachment to the school. It is the sense of the school as a family that has made teaching here so attractive.”
At his retirement party at the school tribute was paid to his unflappability under the inevitable pressures that came with the job, ‘Keep calm and carry on’ being his characteristic response to turmoil of any kind. Stephen’s contribution to sport – particularly coaching rugby and boys’ hockey teams of all ages – was also recognised.
Retirement does not, however, bring to an end his association with the school. Together with his wife he will continue to sing with the choir in concerts and services in the magnificently restored Chapel as well as with Amici, the highly regarded Taunton-based chamber choir. A delightful musical contribution of close-harmony singing at his party illustrated the value of his musical gifts.
And to take up the space where the classroom and the office once were, he will spend more time gardening. As well as looking after his own magnificent garden, he intends to become a volunteer gardener for the National Trust, possibly at Knightshayes Court near Tiverton where his support in the huge kitchen garden and in the garden shop can be most useful. He will also continue to exhibit flowers and vegetables at Wellington’s Spring and Summer Flower Shows, another activity he shares with Sheena who is a committee member. As Sheena is also retiring this summer, music and horticulture are bound to benefit from more of their time and continuing commitment.