A PRINCIPAL who has spearheaded the successful transformation of a Basingstoke college, and overseen years of increasing high achievement by its students, is set to retire after nearly two decades in the top job.
The 61-year-old grew up in Liverpool and began teaching at secondary schools in Warrington, before moving to Basingstoke in April 1995 to take up the principal’s post at QMC, in Cliddesden Road.
He said. “I thought it would be a five-year project and then seven years, but I love the place and have been very lucky to work here for so long. I’m one of those lucky people who’s had a good job and loved almost all of it.”
Mr Sheedy has spearheaded the college’s transformation over the years, overseeing several major building projects including a £13million new science centre called The Spectrum which opened in 2010.
But it is the progress of the thousands of students who have passed through the doors that has given Mr Sheedy the greatest job satisfaction. This summer, the college celebrated its best-ever set of A-level results, after 73 per cent of students achieved an A* to C and over 99 per cent passed their A-levels overall.
Mr Sheedy said: “It’s about watching young people grow across those years that they are here, the things they achieve, and what they go on to do. They come here as children and leave as young adults.”
During his career, Mr Sheedy has witnessed a huge increase in the number of young people going on to further education.
He said: “In the 1970s, about 40 per cent of youngsters stayed in education after school, and now it’s 85 per cent. We have played a very big part in that and that’s been a major change.”
Mr Sheedy paid tribute to the support he has received from his staff over the years. When he started at QMC, there were around 150 members of staff – now there are 300 due to the college’s successful growth in student numbers.
Mr Sheedy, pictured, said the hardest aspect of his job was making the finances work, adding: “In the time I’ve been here, we have had two recessions and sizeable cuts in public funding.”
The QMC principal has also immersed himself in the local community, chairing the Local Strategic Partnership for 10 years and getting involved in other areas of the local community.
Mr Sheedy, who always wanted to become a teacher, said: “I have done 40 years and it seemed like long enough. I have gained an enormous amount from it. I have been very privileged to have a job like this at QMC. It’s been very rewarding. It’s a lovely place to work. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.”
Mr Sheedy, who lives in Beggarwood with his wife Angela, has no firm plans for what he wants to do when he retires at the end of the academic year next summer. QMC is now in the process of recruiting his successor.