Preston school bids farewell to long-serving headteacher who was ‘One of Ours’

A Preston school which treats its children as "One of Ours" is bidding farewell to a headteacher who exemplifies the motto.

By Tim Gavell
Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th July 2022, 12:37 pm

For Nigel Ranson, the retiring leader of Our Lady's Catholic High, has been at the school as a pupil, a teacher and as head.

Mr Ranson, 60, attended the Fulwood school from 1973 to 1978 when it was known as Blessed Cuthbert Mayne, only to return as a physics teacher in 1984.

He later moved to teach at All Hallows Catholic High in Penwortham in 1992 and then to St Mary's Catholic High in Blackpool, where he was deputy head teacher.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Former pupil Nigel Ranson who is retiring as Headteacher at Our Lady's Catholic High School, Preston. Mr Ranson is pictured in the school's Maths Block which, at the time he attended as a pupil, was the fifth form common room

In 2003 he returned to Our Lady's as head following the retirement of his predecessor Tony Greenall.

Now 19 years on, he is to step down, handing over the reins to current deputy head teacher, Richard Charnock.

Preston-born Mr Ranson, a North End season ticket holder for 20 years, and who attended Newman College in town before studying at Liverpool University, said it had been an honour to be head teacher.

He said: "The sense of being One of Ours, which we took from the school's name, is something the pupils and staff are happy to refer to and epitomises the sense of family and community at our school.

Nigel Ranson, who is retiring as Headteacher at Our Lady's Catholic High School, Preston

"That's important because when things get difficult, then you know who you are and who is supporting you.

"It has been an extraordinary privilege and honour to be the headteacher here. I have worked with some wonderful people who have been vital in what is a collective endeavour and who should look back with tremendous pride on what they have achieved.

Read More

Read More
Preston, Blackpool and Fylde schools compete at SPAR Lancashire School Games Fin...

"I owe heartfelt gratitude to the people I have worked with, as well as the pupils and whole school community.”

Retiring Our Lady's headteacher Nigel Ranson pictured centre front in the black jacket in the school's 1992 Guild Year photo

Our Lady’s was rated by Ofsted as just satisfactory in 2004, by 2007 it had improved to good, but by 2012 it was outstanding, a rating retained to date.

The school was awarded in 2014 the status of National Teaching School and is now the lead-school of The Catholic Teaching Alliance, an association of more than 50 Catholic schools in the county.

He added: "Having someone like Richard Charnock taking over makes my leaving much easier. The principals and values that matter to us all as a school will carry on as the school evolves."

Mr Ranson said he became a teacher because he was always interested in the psychology of behaviour and leadership in the classroom and that his philosophy had always been driven by a strong sense of fairness and consistency.

He added: "People talk a lot about vision when it comes to leadership, but for me that is overrated. The ideas that work best are those which people can get behind. It is important to get the staff to have their own sense of belief in the things we are doing.

"One of the most important things to do is to listen to people. Think through an idea and then get the staff to analyse it and test it to find all the faults. But before that discussion happens people have to be clear as to why we are trying to do this and there has to be a sense of trust.

"The why does not change, but the how, can change.

"Teachers work extraordinarily hard on things they believe will improve things for their pupils and school and leadership is about capturing that determination.”

He said he now plans to "have a life that is not determined by the ringing of a bell" by spending time with his wife Anne-Marie and their dog Oswald.

The school and community plans to mark his retirement with a special Mass at the school’s arts theatre attended by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Lancaster Paul Swarbrick.