THE head teacher at Bournemouth School for Girls (BSG) has announced his retirement, calling time on a more than 20-year association with the grammar school.

Alistair Brien thanked the “loyal and hardworking staff” he has worked with since joining the school as deputy head in 1998, before taking the premiership in 2004.

The father of three said while he has “immense pride” for his long tenure as head, he said “now is the time” for a “fresh set of eyes” to lead the school into the future.

He told the Echo: “My aim has always been to get well balanced young people be able to make difference in the world and I hope I’ve been successful.

Bournemouth Echo: Bournemouth School for Girls headteacher Alistair Brien in October 2005Bournemouth School for Girls headteacher Alistair Brien in October 2005

“I will really miss the pupils and staff. It’s always been a delight to work with the group of loyal and hardworking staff who simply want the best for students.

“I’m always amazed at student achievements in and out of school as I’ve always encouraged them to find interests and passions they can take with them in life. Some pupils have gone on to compete at the Olympics, representing their country as they take their activity to the highest level.”

Alistair said his decision to step down as head at the end of the academic year in 2022 was added to by the pandemic, which he says “took its toll” on the whole school.

He said: “It’s been a difficult last two years with the balancing act of implementing the latest Covid measures in place to keep the school safe but to also keep some sort of normality.”

Bournemouth Echo: Alistair Brien with Bournemouth School for Girls pupils. Picture: Corin MesserAlistair Brien with Bournemouth School for Girls pupils. Picture: Corin Messer

Having graduated from Exeter University with degrees in German and History, Alistair took his teacher training at Birmingham University.

Following a meeting with a careers officer at Exeter, Alistair was suggested several career options. These were a teacher, a social worker, a prison governor or a vicar. He joked the role of a headteacher encompasses the qualities needed for most of those jobs.

In a teaching career lasting 35 years, Alistair previously worked at Arnewood School in New Milton where he set up the sixth form.

He added: “It really has been the best job because whatever the trials and tribulations, you realise what a difference you can make in the lives of young people. I’ve been overwhelmed by messages of goodwill, thanks and support and from both staff and parents.”

Alistair, who will be 58 when he leaves in August 2022, says he likely won’t stay retired. As a member of The Magic Circle he hopes to be able to perform magic, a great passion of his, professionally.

Bournemouth Echo: Alistair Brien as the president of the Wessex Magical AssociationAlistair Brien as the president of the Wessex Magical Association

He has also given thought to becoming a celebrant.

He will now be able to spend more time with his wife Sharon, daughters Jessica and Harriet – who both attended BSG – and his son Nicholas.

The search for a new headteacher will begin in January.