Tributes to former Hathershaw head

Date published: 27 June 2011

JOHN Cole, who transformed Hathershaw School when he took over as its head teacher in the 1970s, has died at his home in France.

Mr Cole left his job as Oldham’s assistant director of education to take on the school’s headship.

He took the reins temporarily in 1976 when the then head was on secondment, before accepting the permanent post the following year.

One of his former colleagues, Nigel Marland, said: “Without a doubt he was the best head teacher I ever worked for.

“I always admired him for giving up a very prestigious job to take on the headship of Hathershaw.

“He just loved the school and he turned it around when the authority closed Hathershaw’s feeder school, Greenhill, and it became a sixth-form 11-18 comprehensive school.

“The school prospered during his time, exam results improved greatly, the school became fully subscribed, and in 1981 Mr Cole was responsible for overseeing the building of Oldham’s first joint school community sports hall.”

Mr Cole retired in 1988 and went to live with his partner, Dominique, in her home of Landes in Southern France.

Mr Cole, who was in his mid-70s, died at his home on June 19, after a period of illness.

His funeral was held in Landes last Thursday.