Mr P Parker
As we move towards the end of another academic year the sun will be setting on the career of a St. George’s institution. There are certain times when individuals need to be singled out for their contribution to an organisation, to individuals or to their profession. I have had the privilege of working at the school for over twenty years and in that time there have been certain staff who have left an indelible mark on me as a person and as a teacher. The retirement of Phil Parker marks for many of us the end of an era.
As I look back there are probably five likeminded “Knights of St. George’s” who have set the standard for the rest of us to follow. The reason is that collectively they were St. George’s, they put the children first and they supported the school and what it stood for. Phil will be joining them in retirement but I know that like John Horn, Tony Boyce, Keith Rumblo, Dave Johnson and Richard Halse he will continue to keep an eye on the progress of our great school and be proud of what he was part of. Like the other Knights he shares the common bond of an interest in sport and an ability to have fun at any opportunity. Together they have left a legacy that is instilled in all that work at our school. Put simply: “The children come first.”
I first met Phil 30 years ago when as a young cricketer I was subjected to his constant chatter while I stood at the crease to bat. The difference with Phil was that quite often his taunts were not only towards the opposition but to his fellow team mates. He simply loved to get a reaction from anyone who would listen, but more often than not, an exasperated opposition player would react and Phil would cheer at the delight of ruffling a few feathers. His love of sport is infectious and he will happily chat for hours on any sporting event, autographs or even Coventry City!
First and foremost, Phil has been dedicated to the children of St. George’s for 36 years and there is not a week goes by without an ex-pupil stopping me in the street and asking about whether Mr Parker is still teaching and explaining the fun and support they got from him. Phil’s leadership of Rochester House in the 1980s and 90s can be likened to the great football managers of modern times. In many ways his team were more successful and never failed to bring home the House Cup. Even now people still talk of his command of the House, his loyalty and total dedication to the children.
In Phil Parker we are losing the last great “Knight of St. George’s”, a man who has spanned five Headteachers, numerous Heads of Department, endless English Colleagues and has managed to wind up hundreds of staff! He has probably taught thousands of pupils and left a lasting memory on many. He is quite rightly referred to as “Legend” by many who have been taught by him.
In recent times Phil has offered support to younger staff and has always been willing to listen and advise when issues arise. He has continued to embrace changes in education, adapted to new exams and throughout has been happy to play the role of elder statesman to the benefit of all in the school.
St. George’s is losing an outstanding practitioner, the children are losing a committed teacher, staff are losing an experienced advisor and some of us are losing a highly respected friend.
On Tuesday 24th July from 1pm the Thanet Wanderers Rugby Club bar will be open to celebrate his last day. All are welcome to say good bye to an inspirational teacher.
On behalf of the school I would like to wish Phil and Paula a very happy retirement together.
Mr Adam Mirams,