A HEAD teacher who used to be a bobby on the beat is retiring early.

Walking the streets of Grimsby as a police constable at the age of 19 was a “baptism of fire” and Bev Fletcher, head at Brotherton and Byram Primary Academy, near Selby, says it helped set her up for life.

Now opting for early retirement at the end of the summer team, Bev’s first career – with the police – culminated with her being Detective Constable in the CID in Portsmouth, investigating serious crime.

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She met husband Mark on a police training course. Later Bev took a career break to have four children – Harry, Ellie, Martha and George – and went back to university for her degree in childhood studies, the starting point for a whole new career, which was to be either in social work or teaching.

Teaching won out and after five years at Wistow, first as a teacher before leaving as assistant head, Bev spent a year focussing on school improvement.

She was asked to come to Brotherton and Byram as assistant head in 2013, as the school had gone into special measures. Together with colleagues Gail Brown and Rebecca McGuinn, the school was transformed, earned an Ofsted ‘good’ rating within a year and Bev was appointed head of school in 2016.

“I have loved teaching. I came into teaching to make a difference and I feel I have achieved that,” she said.

“That feeling you get when a child has that ‘lightbulb moment’ is priceless. I have so many happy memories I will treasure.”

Other than two years as head at Camblesforth, Bev spent the rest of her teaching career at Brotherton and Byram.

She recognises there is a lot of vulnerability within the community, and plenty of challenge, but says it is very rewarding, contains plenty of potential and “keeps you on your toes every single day.”

“I feel so proud of what has been achieved by the Brotherton team over the years to make it such a good school with so many opportunities for every single child,” said Bev. “I also feel proud to have worked with the Camblesforth team who were so hard working and put the children first in everything they did. It wasn’t easy but what a difference we made together!

“I would like to say a special thank you to all the staff I have worked with who go the extra mile for the sake of the children.”

Bev says that being a head, and seeing teachers grow and lead, putting children at the centre of every decision and driving school improvement has been a privilege.

With her husband retiring four years ago, she feels now is the right time for her to pass the reins to someone else and spend time with her family, especially with one of her daughters getting married during the summer holidays.

“The school is in a good place,” she said.

Gail Brown, chief executive of Ebor Academy Trust, which operates 23 schools including Brotherton and Byram, said: “I have enormous respect for Bev, her many qualities and her school leadership abilities and we will miss her when she leaves. Bev and I share some special memories of Brotherton and Byram – it will always have a place in both of our hearts.

“Work has already started on finding a high calibre replacement.”