headteacher tributes - for Roisin Maguire St Joseph's College

College pupils paid tribute to their headteacher from Nantwich who is stepping down after 18 years.

Roisin Maguire has produced amazing results during her time leading St Joseph’s College in Stoke-on-Trent.

Now Roisin, who spent six years as deputy head and 12 years as headteacher, reflected on her time at the college.

When she arrived, it had returned to the state sector, had only 450 pupils, with just 54 in the sixth form and was ranked no where in the national league tables.

Now it has 1,100 pupils, 420 in the Sixth Form and in this year’s Sunday Times league tables was almost in the top 200 best state schools in the UK.

It was the first secondary school in Stoke to gain an Outstanding OFSTED rating and is oversubscribed ten-fold.

She also fought off plans to close the school, converted the former Michelin office block into a Sixth Form centre, built a new music block, a new sports hall and converted the Wesleyan Chapel on London Road into another Sixth Form Resources Centre.

Roisin said her philosophy has been to “keep it simple, make sure every lesson count, give students as many opportunities as possible, make sure you know all of them and that they feel valued and loved”.

She added: “The children know my door is always open, that my office is a safe space and they can come and talk about anything to me.

“That’s what I encourage.

“I love nothing more than getting up from my desk, walking through the school, talking to all the children and getting them to engage in conversation.

“I believe in high standards, high standards of dress, tidiness and speech, using correct grammar.

“Some say I am a traditionalist, but these seem to be timeless values to me.

“If you look after the detail, if the small things are important, then the bigger picture becomes clearer.”

plaque and tree planted in honour of Roisin Maguire, St Joseph's College headteacher

With the support of the Denise Coates Foundation and parents, St Joseph’s has raised over £1 million to support schools and villages in Sierra Leone.

Sixth Form student Hannah Newman, 18, said: “Ms Maguire is a strong leader and welcomes everyone into school.”

Phoebe Lawler, 16, added: “She supports every student.”

Roisin Nolan, 15, said: “It’s really nice to have a conversation.

“She’s interested in everything I do and she remembers everything we are all doing.”

Louisa Hussain, 13, said: “She knew my name as soon as I walked through the doors on my first day.”

And Samuel Ajala, 16, said: “She is the strongest woman I know and she’s been amazing all these years.”

Roisin is moving to a new role as director of education for the Christian Brothers Schools in England.

She added: “I will also continue to work in Stoke as a consultant, with a particular role at Birches Head Academy.

“Stoke has come along way. Standards are improving and I want to play my part in continuing that improvement.”

(Pics: Pupils and staff pay tribute to Roisin Maguire by planting tree and plaque in her honour at St Joseph’s College)

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