TOO much bureaucracy is stifling teachers, says a long-serving Burnley headteacher who is retiring after more than three decades in the profession.
Miss Bernadette Bleasdale, the first lay headteacher of the former St Hilda’s RC Girls’ School and head of the new Blessed Trinity RC Community College, retires on April 20th.
In this week’s Express she speaks about the career she has loved “every step of the way” and of the challenges facing teachers today.
“Teaching has been my life and I’ve enjoyed every aspect, but there is no doubt there is too much bureaucracy nowadays. It has gone crackers. There have been so many changes since I started, not least in Burnley, some for the better and some not so.”
Miss Bleasdale (56) arrived in Burnley when she was appointed headteacher at St Hilda’s in 1992, taking the reins from Sister Mary Joseph who had held the post for a number of years following the school’s first head Sister Mary Theresa.
Born and educated in Blackburn, Miss Bleasdale attended Notre Dame Catholic Grammar School before studying maths at Lancaster University followed by teacher training at St Martin’s College, Lancaster. She started her career as a maths teacher at Morecambe High School before becoming deputy head at Notre Dame girls’ school in St Helens.
In recent years, she has been at the centre of huge changes in Burnley’s education system, not least the revolutionary Building Schools for the Future programme which merged many schools, including St Hilda’s with St Theodore’s boys’ school into the new Blessed Trinity.
Blessed Trinity, despite being Burnley’s best performing school for exam results, created headlines for the wrong reason when it was placed in Special Measures by Ofsted inspectors who ordered improvements be made. Recent monitoring visits have proved positive, and Miss Bleasdale is confident the school has turned a corner.
Miss Bleasdale will spend more time gardening, walking and enjoying holidays in her retirement.
A thanksgiving Mass will be held at St Mary’s RC Church, Yorkshire Street, on April 19th followed by a farewell party at Turf Moor.