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Castle Manor's longest-serving teacher retires

Wednesday, 17th December 2014.

Students, staff and governors at Castle Manor Academy will be saying farewell to a much loved teacher when he retires on Friday.

Martin Pates is in his 40th year of teaching, all of which has been completed at the school. He is the longest-serving member of staff having started as “Master to teach Economics with Public Affairs and Commerce” in September 1975.

He joined the school when it was known as Castle Manor School and was the only secondary school in Haverhill.

Mr Pates moved from Chesterfield to a key worker flat on Boxford Court and lived for many years in Haverhill, before moving out of town.

He has always been passionate about young people and, as well as a teaching countless youngsters in the classroom, has been involved in numerous community projects.

He was a scout leader for over 25 years, both locally and further afield in Bottisham. He was also heavily involved in the organisation of The Haverhill Show for around a decade, when he arranged the procession through town.

At Castle Manor Mr Pates has taught a range of subjects and organised a huge variety of activities.

His main focus has been teaching business, from his original appointment to teach economics, to his current timetable, which sees him teaching business and finance.

In between he has taught many subjects and taken on many responsibilities. These include running some football teams, teaching PE, being a careers teacher and also the schools exam officer.

In his time Martin has seen a huge amount of change in the educational landscape and the types of qualifications delivered.

He said: “I taught the Certificate of Pre Vocational Education across both schools in the late 80s. This was a great qualification to prepare students for further study and was very similar to current BTEC qualifications.”

He is most well known for some of his extra-curricular clubs and activities. These include the sports teams he ran, trips to the House of Lords and a series of very successful business competitions including a recent group that reached the final in a business competition at Anglia Ruskin University.

Martin chose to work in Haverhill because of its location. He was keen to avoid a huge city and wanted somewhere that had a life about it and a future.

Haverhill has grown massively in the past 40 years and Martin remembers the town from the early days.

“There was a small, but vibrant high street which had a variety of small chains and independent retailers," he said.

"The school has changed a huge amount over the years, but you can still see similarities in some places, specifically in the hall, which remains easily recognisable.”

Martin also reflected on the visit he made to Haverhill when choosing whether to come and work here.

“There were no roundabouts in town, or traffic lights. I parked in the High Street to visit the town and ended up getting a parking ticket!”

Martin is looking forward to a well-earned rest when he retires. He plans to travel around the UK and further afield with his wife and will enjoy spending more time with family.

He will take with him fond memories. He said: “I have taught a huge number of students that have gone on to a wide variety of careers, including bankers, parliamentary permanent secretaries, head teachers and Oxbridge students.

"They have gone on to lead highly successful lives, proving that our system has enabled people to be what they want to be.”

He remains positive about local business and the town in general. “We have always had successful industry and commerce in our town and I know that our school can continue to prepare young people for their future,” he said.

Haverhill Online News

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