FULSOME tributes to the retiring headteacher of Giggleswick School have been paid by governors and staff at the school's speech day.
Headmaster Geoffrey Boult is leaving the school after 13 years in charge - and leaves a legacy which will be hard to follow, said colleagues.
Chairman of Governors Heather Hancock told the assembled parents and staff that Mr Boult had always demonstrated "enlightened and progressive leadership".
She said: "Geoffrey leaves a mark on this school that many might not have achieved in twice the time. In 13 years of leadership, he has overseen the continual enhancing of academic achievement.
"Alongside this, Geoffrey has prioritised and seen through some radical reshaping of the physical facilities at Giggleswick – this sports hall, the dining hall, the theatre, the Pavilion and much more. In an era where the pressure on academic results has obscured attention to the broader developmental needs of children, Geoffrey has been tireless in advocating a rounded curriculum, in emphasising every child’s needs and potential, and in just jolly well joining in.
"He lives those values in his commitment to the sporting, artistic, charitable, dramatic and musical life of this school, and especially in his leadership of the spiritual and moral life of Giggleswick. Geoffrey’s openness, optimism and friendliness set the tone here – he is pupil-centric, he knows them all, and he wants them to have the best start in life."
The school's two deputy heads also praised Mr Boult's commitment to educational values.
Sarah Williamson said: "His passionate belief in the education that Giggleswick offers, and his eternal optimism in the individual qualities of the young people here, not to mention his eloquence, makes him a hard act to follow."
Both Ms Williamson and her fellow deputy head Neil Gemmell went on to praise the achievements of pupils, both in and outside the classroom.
Ms Williamson highlighted the "unified vision for education" that allowed pupils and teachers to achieve so much.
She told guests and governors that the school is "a place in which the pupils can take calculated risks, test themselves, or devise their own personal challenges, moving beyond their own comfort zones knowing that they will be well-supported and encouraged, not only by their teachers but also by their peers".
Ms Williamson spoke about pupils taking up personal challenges by going to Africa to learn first-hand about midwifery or raising cash by completing runs for charity.
Academically, she highlighted how the school's mathematicians had achieved excellent results in the UK Mathematics Trust Challenge, where 65 per cent of students who entered had achieved a certificate, compared to 35 per cent nationally. Two pupils had progressed to the challenge's Olympiad, with one, Hanno von Bergen, being placed in the top 100 nationally in his age group, she said.
And the school would always strive to maintain its excellent relations with the local community in which it worked, she said.
"Our relationship with the wider Giggleswick community, parents and friends, are increasingly essential to our successes. The philanthropy that the pupils witness from them: the generous gifts of time, advice and expertise will, we hope, encourage them to consider doing likewise in the future," she added.