tribute to David Cole, former head of Brine Leas School

Staff and governors at Brine Leas School in Nantwich have issued a heartfelt tribute to headteacher David Cole, who died five days ago.

Mr Cole, who had been at the school on Audlem Road for 24 years, died suddenly aged 52 on Sunday night at his home in Willaston.

The school was closed on Monday as staff, parents and pupils came to terms with the news.

The school plans to open two books of condolence next week for people to leave their own messages and tributes.

Today, chair of governors Rachel Bolton and Richard Middlebrook of the Cornovii Trust, issued a written tribute.

They said: “At the end of a very challenging week for us all, we thought it was the right time to reflect and most importantly pay tribute to our fantastic Headteacher, Dave Cole.

“Despite recent events, our school community have been amazing in so many ways. We have come together as a school and supported each other.

“Our young people have been quite brilliant, respectful, mature and thoughtful. They have displayed acts of kindness to each other and to staff.

“We would especially like to thank our fantastic staff, who despite being deeply shocked and saddened, have continued to be so professional but more importantly have been so kind to each other and with our students.

“This is what makes Brine Leas such a special school, we care for each other.

“We have been overwhelmed with the kind messages we have received from parents, ex staff, the community, colleagues, schools, organisations both locally, regionally and nationally, they have been a real comfort to us.

“On behalf of Dave’s family and everyone at Brine Leas, thank you so much. Your kindness is really appreciated at this desperately sad time.

“We would like everyone to have an opportunity to express their own thoughts, feelings and stories about Dave/Mr Cole.

“Next week, there will be two books of condolence available for you to do this.

“One will be in the library for pupils and staff and the other will be in the reception area of school, so members of the community, ex staff and students can come in and sign.

“Everyone is welcome and encouraged to visit the school if you would like to leave a message. We will then share these books with Dave’s family.”

Mr Cole was appointed headteacher at Brine Leas in 2019, succeeding Andrew Cliffe.

The tribute continued: “In that time, he has impacted on the lives of thousands of young people and countless colleagues, both as a teacher and as a school leader.

“He has touched so many lives and improved them for the better. That has been commented on by countless staff (past and present) and students (current and past).

“What a great legacy that is. The constants throughout this time have been Dave’s kindness, compassion, humour, sense of justice, the fact that he always made time for people and encouraged them to be the best version of themselves.

“As Deputy Head, Dave was instrumental in securing the funding for and development of BL6, without Dave there would be no 6th form at Brine Leas.

“As Headteacher, he led our school brilliantly and always put the needs of our young people first.

“He managed the school through the pandemic and during that time was determined that Brine Leas remained at the heart of the community.

“Dave was hugely respected by colleagues across Cheshire East and beyond.

“He was a leader with great wisdom and a huge amount of knowledge but more importantly he cared for everyone.

“Most people know him as a teacher or school leader but most importantly, Dave was a loving husband and father.

“All our love, thoughts and prayers are with his wife Nicola, sons James and Edward and his wider family.

“At the footer of his email was the quote ‘It’s better to be kind than right’.

“This is a message for us all, the world needs more kindness and more people like Dave Cole. We will all miss him immensely.”

Further commemorative details are to be announced including plans for his funeral.

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