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Saturday, 29 November 2014

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Teacher Tony retires after career spent sharing his passion

A FORMER Sellafield worker who left the plant to pass his love of physics on to others is retiring after 25 years in the classroom.

Tony Winzor, 61, has held a variety of positions in the profession, including head of physics, head of science and deputy head. He is currently in charge at Hunter Hall Preparatory School in Penrith.

Born in Workington, he moved to Wolverhampton when he was five years old and stayed there until heading to the University of Sheffield when he was 18.

He completed a degree in metallurgy then studied for a PhD in the physics of this subject.

It was after completing his studies that he “came home” to Cumbria and got a job working in the nuclear industry at Sellafield. His job involved studying the effects of radiation on different materials.

“It was really interesting, and I still have a deep interest in physics,”said Dr Winzor, who lives near Cockermouth. He moved from the nuclear industry into education in 1984.

“I found it [working at Sellafield] fascinating but it was very slow. I wanted something more instantly rewarding.”

He found this when he became a physics teacher at St Bees School. After climbing through the ranks there, he took up his current role in 2009.

“St Bees was a terrific place but I felt like a new challenge,” said Dr Winzor.

He found the school in good shape but has made some changes. These have included attempts to make it more environmentally friendly, with the introduction of solar panels. He has also helped to make the school a more efficient place.

Dr Winzor is clear about what the best part of his job is. “I think just following children through their education.”

Dr Winzor also emphasised the importance of making sure pupils are able to adapt.

“Some of the children aged six or seven now will probably be working for the next 70 years, what are we teaching them? We had no idea 20 years ago what the world would be like now.”

However, he also said the constant changes in education policy were one of the worst parts of the job. “Teachers just get used to one thing and then it changes.”

Dr Winzor feels now is the right time for him to retire.

“If you haven’t changed what you’re going to change in five years you’re probably not going to change it anyway.”

He will look forward to spending time with his wife Catherine, 60, who has just retired from being headteacher at a St James’ School in Whitehaven, and spending some time engaging in his passions for walking, cycling and travelling.

He will leave his job at the end of the 2012/13 term. His successor will start in September next year.

“It’s a position for someone with a passion for children and a passion for the school, because this is a very special place.”

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