John Rubinstein retires as principal

Dated: 1 April 2021

And so the time has come to say a fond farewell...
Principal John Rubinstein steps down from his role at Woodhouse as the head teacher. But he is not putting on his cowboy hat (yes, that is his own in the picture) and riding off into the sunset just yet. He’ll be hanging around for another term to continue teaching his maths classes until the end of the academic year.
John, who turned 60 in January, has been Principal at Woodhouse for eight years, having joined us in 1994 as our head of maths. In that time he has overseen a significant increase in numbers of students achieving places at high ranking universities, and the maintenance and improvement of students achieving high A level grades, despite year-on-year reductions in post-16 funding. He has guided the college from strength to strength and leaves us the better for his considerable input and leadership.
He has also been an incredibly popular Principal, not just with students and parents - but with staff too. His door always open, always ready to listen to an idea or suggestion, or criticism. Always supportive, always committed and enthusiastic, always warm, compassionate and caring. He is often described by parents as ‘very down to earth’ and ‘refreshingly normal’. Students dropped by his office almost constantly, for advice on an application or personal statement, help with a maths problem or to ask if they could set up a society or group… and he has been unfailingly available and approachable, to the point where some staff wonder how he found time to get his Principal work done, but he always did.
John said: “I have had the most wonderful time at Woodhouse and will be very sad indeed when I get on my bike and pedal home on my final day.
But I am leaving at a fantastic time for the college, its staff and students. Our teaching and results continue to be as strong as ever, in spite of the challenges we’ve faced over the past year, ever more young people are realising the value of a specialist post-16 education and there is a brand new school and prestigious partnership with Imperial to look forward to. I wish all my students and my colleagues the very, very best for the future.”
Our new principal, who takes over during the Easter break, is Sugra Alibhai - who we will be formally introducing in the coming weeks. John said of her “I think the job of rebuilding after the pandemic needs to go to a younger person with energy and ideas. I have spent a lot of time recently with my successor, Sugra, I think she will be fantastic: already she has shown that she is warm and caring and a good listener, whilst also being sharp and on it. She will be great.”
Chair of Trustees, Peter Green, said: “While we are very sad to see John retire, he is leaving Woodhouse in an incredibly good position and none of that would have happened without him. He has been the driving force behind our success over the last eight years.”
John has published a full farewell message on his ‘principals blog’ page, which is really worth a read.
John has already received a plethora of warm wishes, lovely cards and emails from students and parents (and more than a couple of bottles of good whiskey too). But his staff hope that the proposed relaxation in COVID restrictions by July will enable them to give him a properly fitting send-off at the end of the academic year.
Until then, we wish him the very best of good luck, we thank him for his impeccable service, and remind him that - even in retirement - ‘Once a Woodhouseian, always a Woodhouseian!’

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