Cycling tour drove Colin to school job

Colin Sutherland
Colin Sutherland
Have your say

A SCHOOL has bid a fond farewell to its headteacher after he retired following a 
14-year stint.

Colin Sutherland, 57, stepped down from the top job at North Berwick High ahead of the February break and now moves to a part-time advisory role with the Scottish Government, using his experience to advise on the new Curriculum for Excellence.

Mr Sutherland had been headteacher at the school since February 1999.

He said: “I have been at the school for 14 years and had my happiest memories there. I am privileged to have been at a wonderful school.

“The pupils and the buzz about the school, the whole feeling about being part of the community, the tens of thousands of pounds we have raised for charity, the sporting success, the school shows, the fantastic link with Malawi. They are very much the highlights and very fond memories.

“The school’s motto is ‘aim high’. The second part should be ‘have a bash and give it a go’.”

Mr Sutherland took the decision to move to North Berwick after he visited East Lothian on a cycling holiday 15 years ago. He uprooted his family from the west coast, where he was acting headteacher at Port Glasgow High School, in 1999.

He said: “In the summer of 1998 my family and I did a cycling tour of East Lothian – Longniddry, North Berwick and Tantallon.

“We thought, ‘Gosh, what a gorgeous county. We need to come back’. We climbed the Law and looked at the school down below and it looked lovely.

“Three weeks later, the position was advertised, I applied for it and the rest, they say, is history.”

Mr Sutherland said one thing he will miss is the school’s ability to raise his spirits.

“He said: “Walking around the school and popping in to one or two classes, youngsters doing African drumming or Greek dancing, pupils going out of their comfort zone, it’s brilliant to see.

“North Berwick’s [exam] results last year were tremendous. I am confident that I leave the school in a very good place. I am very, very proud of the school, proud of the achievements.”

Filling the vacancy is Lauren Rodger, who has been deputy head for seven years and is a former pupil of the school.

Mr Sutherland said: “I am really pleased that Lauren is taking over. She came to the school in 2006 and she’s been a great colleague. I have no doubt the school will go on to better things under her leadership.”

East Lothian Council education convener Councillor Shamin Akhtar said: “Colin has contributed hugely to both North Berwick High School and the wider community of the town.

“Over the past 14 years he has fully engaged with pupils, colleagues and parents to place North Berwick High School as one of the top achieving schools in the country and he’ll be sorely missed. ”