Jim Foley's Final Letter

18 July 2014

Dear Parents

I am writing to you for the final time as Headteacher of St Thomas Aquinas. I really do want to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to you for all the support you have given me over the past 21 years.

On Wednesday evening I was deeply moved by the wonderful Mass and the celebration that followed. I was able to meet lots of parents there and to thank them in person for all that they have given me in my time in the school. There are many things that I am proud of about our school but one of the real highlights was the privilege of being one of you - a parent of students in our school. Christina and I were delighted to send our three children to St Thomas Aquinas not because I was headteacher but because it is a great school. And a huge part of the reason for that is the commitment and support you have always given as parents.

During my time at Aquinas I have been responsible for about 5,000 students some of whom are now nearly 40 years old and indeed are parents of students in the school themselves. I do not know them all but I am immensely proud of their many and various achievements. There are three, however, who I must mention in my final letter.

Between March 2011 and July 2012, a period of 16 months, we lost three very special young people in Aleena Biju, Billie-Jayne Fulford and George Galea. They were times of immense sadness as we stood alongside those three families in their darkest hours but as a school community we drew strength from our faith and from each other. Aleena, Billie Jayne, George and their families will never be forgotten in our school.

St Thomas Aquinas is far from the most affluent school in Birmingham but there is no more generous one. Time and time again we have collected over 20,000 per year for numerous charities and it is possible only because of your incredible generosity. It is a terrible indictment of Britain in 2014 that we have Food Banks but since we do I am delighted we are supporting those in greatest need in our local community through the B30 Food Bank in Cotteridge. Thank you for your continuing generosity.

And so it is time to say farewell. I wish my great friend and colleague Clare Madden all the success and happiness in the world as she takes the school forward in the next few years. What I know for certain is that she has the best staff behind her that any school could ever wish for.

Thank you once again. May God bless you and your families now and in the years ahead.

With best wishes

Jim Foley

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