New deputy head loves “buzz” at Sidmouth school

Mike joins St John’s School Sidmouth as International Baccalaureate introduced

FORMER investment banker Mike Burgess is enjoying his new role as deputy head of Sidmouth’s St John’s School.

“I absolutely love it, the place has lovely buzz,” said Mike, 47, who lives in Sidlands.

He underwent a career switch after retiring from banking 11 years ago and came to Sidmouth five years ago having spent the previous three years with his two sons and daughter Hope, 13, in France, where they went to French schools with no other English children.

“I knew they could cope with it,” said Mike. Now they, like him, are bi-lingual, and speaking French is one reason why Mike was appointed to his post, which he took up last Monday.

Previously he had spent a year at Sidmouth College, running its Inclusion Unit and was special needs co-ordinator.

“One of the attractions of coming to St John’s was the impending introduction of the International Baccalaureate for older students as an alternative to A-levels,” said Mike.

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St John’s, which used only to take children up to Year Seven, has expanded to a senior school, with pupils up to Year 11, prior to opening the full sixth form.

“We are recruiting more staff and students and are getting a lot of students in for taster days,” said Mike. “We are very confident that what we are offering is what people want.”

He was attracted to St John’s because, he said: “It is a vibrant and exciting place to be and has a really good ethos.

“Universities are now telling us that the International Baccalaureate is the best preparation for university life and it is increasingly what students are choosing.”

As well as his duties as deputy head, Mike teaches maths, business studies and some PE at St John’s.