Our Lady’s Catholic College head steps down after eight years at helm

Head of Our Lady's Catholic College, Brendan Conboy, is retiring this summer.
Head of Our Lady's Catholic College, Brendan Conboy, is retiring this summer.

The man who led Our Lady’s Catholic College into the top rated schools in the country will be hearing the school bell for the final time next week when he retires after 35 years in teaching.

Brendan Conboy, who joined the Lancaster school in 2007, will continue to work on the county’s advisory panel and will also work for the diocese on training and leadership development.

Mr Conboy also plans to spend time with one of his daughters, who lives in the United States, as well as attending the Rugby World Cup and travelling to South Africa to watch cricket.

The dad-of-three added: “After 35 years of looking after other people’s kids it will be nice to spend some time with my own!”

Mr Conboy grew up in Accrington, the eldest son of seven children.

After studying for a psychology and education degree at the University of Hull, he started teaching at a school in Blackpool before moving to Preston.

“I am very proud to have served Lancashire for 35 years,” he said.

He spent most of his career teaching RE, although in later years also taught foundation maths.

He said: “I have always taught, throughout my headship, and it’s been a real joy.

“How can I talk to other teachers about teaching if I am not doing it myself?

“I have been really lucky, I have had fantastic staff and we have done a lot of work with the school – it has changed a lot in the last eight years.”
Our Lady’s is now in the top eight per cent in the country in terms of progress.

Mr Conboy said: “Lancaster is very unique in terms of schools. How can you make a fair judgment with the other schools in the city?
“The only thing that counts is progress and we perform really well in that.

“Put in context we are in the top three per cent and we are really proud of that.

“The staff are really supportive and really ambitious for the kids. They will do whatever it takes.

“I will really miss my colleagues as well as the pupils.”

In recent links the school has formed strong links with schools across the world, including some in China, Malaysia, Chile, Peru and South Africa.

Our Lady’s also takes in exchange students as well as the children of Lancaster University staff from around the world.

Mr Conboy said: “It’s great for the pupils to mix; it has really enriched the community life here.”

The 57-year-old, who lives in Preston, said he has seen many changes in education over the years.

He said: “We have come a long way in the last 35 years in our understanding of teaching.

“It’s been an exciting ride and a lot of the changes have been very positive.

“I will miss the buzz of being at the heart of the school year – but I won’t miss the bells ringing every hour for the last 35 years!

“I always say this is the best job in Lancaster and Morecambe.

“It’s been a great experience and a fantastic privilege to be able to lead this school community and I leave it feeling confident in its future.

“I look forward to hearing it grow even stronger.”

Current deputy head and former Our Lady’s pupil Helen Seddon will be taking over from Mr Conboy from September.