The Derby High School is mourning the loss of former Headteacher Alyson Byrne. She suddenly passed away on Friday 17th February 2017 after a relatively short illness less than two years after her retirement in December 2015.
Mrs. Byrne was born and educated in Southport and attended university in Birmingham and Manchester. She began her teaching career in Hindley, Wigan and then taught for two years in the Middle East. After another four years in Wigan schools and having two children she was appointed Head of Lower School at Smithills School, Bolton before becoming a Deputy Headteacher at Turton School, Bolton.
She was appointed as Headteacher of The Derby High School in 2002. Mrs. Byrne was an outstanding teacher of English; her references always glowed with her love of literature, how she conveyed her enthusiasm to her students and the excellent results they achieved. For fifteen years, her family and The Derby were her life. She worked incredibly hard to enable the school to enjoy the reputation and success it does today.
Mr Margolis commented ‘I had the good fortune of working with Alyson both at Smithills School in the 1990s and at The Derby from 2003. I shall remember her as a lady with intellect and sound judgement. Her knowledge and experience were impressive and her creative and strategic vision was exceptional. She has left a terrific legacy. The way our school developed under her leadership was tremendous and this culminated in our excellent Ofsted report in 2014 in which leadership was recognised and celebrated. She always wanted the best for the children in our school and ensured that they received the best educational experiences both inside and outside the classroom. The greatest sadness is that Alyson was not able to enjoy her retirement for very long. She had made many plans and tragically was not spared the time to fulfil them.’
Thanks to Mrs. Byrne’s dedication and leadership, the achievements of The Derby High School include substantial improvement and development of the school’s buildings including new dining facilities, the Inspire building for media, drama and dance, the multi-million pound Sports Hall and plans for the upcoming development of Science facilities.
In 2013, The Derby High School became the only school in the UK to win two national awards at the TES (Times Educational Supplement) School Awards in London. One was for Science, and one was for creativity. Mrs. Byrne was called up to the stage twice to accept the individual awards.
Under her leadership, the school’s results have improved year on year, and the school has been oversubscribed for several years.
She will be missed by a great many people associated with The Derby High School and Bury LA, but her legacy and impact will never be forgotten.