De Aston School’s Head of Boarding is retiring after more than 20 years in the post , which has seen him be ‘father’ to hundreds of pupils
It was in 1994 Stephen Bunney arrived at the school, with his wife Liz and young family, twins Rosie and Will, to head up the boarding house as part of the senior management team.
For the first seven years, the family lived in the boarding house, but then moved to their own home in the town.
But Mr Bunney still devoted seven days a week to the role.
Now, after 22 years as Head of Boarding, he feels it is time to step down.
However, he will still be at the school for the foreseeable future, overseeing the transition period for the boarding house and working part time in the learning support department.
“It has really been a privilege to work in the boarding house and see so many students develop their independence, leadership qualities and becoming really good people,” said Mr Bunney.
“I have also enjoyed being able to support students through what sometimes have been difficult times.
“I will miss being able to see their whole development rather than just their academic development.”
When Mr Bunney arrived at the school there were around 30 regular boarders, but that number has more than doubled in the past 22 years and the structure of the house has also changed.
“When Liz and I arrived there were just two or three girls boarding and we were tasked with making boarding co-educational to reflect that aspect of the school,” said Mr Bunney.
“Over the 22 years, numbers of boarders has grown and the intake has also changed.
“It used to mainly children of service personnel, now the boarding house has a much more international feel.
“We offer packages of two or three years, where as it was five to seven years, and sometimes have boarders who are there due to family changes.”
Paying tribute to Mr Bunney, De Aston head teacher Ellenor Beighton described him as a ‘kind’ member of staff.
“Many students come back year after year simply because Mr Bunney has touched their lives,” said Mrs Beighton.
“In addition to being someone who has devoted his life to the boarding house, he is also one of the kindest people.
“Without a doubt, Mr Bunney is somebody who has touched the lives of thousands of students over the years.
“He has also been a huge support to many members of staff
“When you have a Mr Bunney-size hole left in your staff, there is no way it can be filled.”