Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Alan Barnes CBE

ASCL was saddened to learn of the passing of Alan Barnes CBE, on 20 November. Alan was an outstanding pioneer of comprehensive education and was instrumental in bringing about the organisation that is today ASCL.

He was appointed at the age of 32 to the headship of Ruffwood School, a purpose-built comprehensive school on Merseyside and remained there for 28 years. Despite the challenges of the area, he took the school from strength to strength.

He attracted young and highly talented teachers to whom he delegated responsibility in return for hard work. It is believed that more than 50 of them went on to headship.

He was the first, and one of the youngest, comprehensive heads to be elected president of the Headmasters Association and he later became a leading player in the lengthy negotiations which led to the amalgamation with the Association of Headmistresses and the creation of the Secondary Heads Association (SHA) in 1978.

Alan's diplomatic skills, tact and good humour played a key part in securing a successful outcome and he became SHA's first honorary treasure.

On his retirement from Ruffwood in 1987, he returned to the service of SHA as one of the first two field officers, a role which he helped to define for the future.

He was also salaries and conditions of service consultant and wrote a series of trenchant submissions to the Pay Review Body which underlined the importance of sound leadership structures and proper remuneration.

Alan also served for more than 20 years as a trustee of the Benevolent Fund and on the Associates Committee.

Alan was one of those outstanding figures who managed to be both a leader and a servant. He will be remembered with affection and admiration.

by John Sutton, SHA general secretary 1988-1998

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