Primary school headteacher who ‘shone through like a bright light’ dies aged 59

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 September 2017 | UPDATED: 07:21 25 September 2017

Neil Tuttiett with members of the school PTA at the opening of a new computer suite last year.

Neil Tuttiett with members of the school PTA at the opening of a new computer suite last year.

Archant

The ‘genuine and caring’ headteacher of a North Somerset primary school has died after a short illness.

Tributes have poured in for ‘much-loved’ Neil Tuttiett, of St Andrew’s Primary School in Congresbury, who died at the age of 59 on September 10.

Parents and staff were informed Mr Tuttiett was ‘seriously ill with two brain tumours’ at the start of term.

Colleagues have hailed Neil as a ‘down-to-earth, warm people person who always put others first’.

After joining the school in 2005, he successfully led the merger of St Andrew’s Junior School and Glebe Infant School in 2009.

Prior to his 12-year stint at St Andrew’s, Mr Tuttiett worked as headteacher at three other schools including Sandford Primary School.

Mr Tuttiett’s family, including his wife Lucinda, were with him at home during his final hours.

As a mark of respect, St Andrew’s will be closed on Monday when Mr Tuttiett’s funeral takes place. Following a private ceremony, a service of remembrance will take place at St Andrew’s Church, in Station Road, at 2pm.

Former deputy headteacher Yvonne Greenwood, who recently retired, said it had been an ‘enormous privilege to work alongside a very wise and experienced man’.

She said: “He was enormously proud of the school’s achievements, which were only made possible due to his outstanding leadership and dedication to the school.”

Jo Beavan, business manager at St Andrew’s, said: “Neil was a much-loved headteacher whose engaging personality shone through like a bright light to our staff, children and community.

“He was a protector of our children and worked tirelessly to ensure St Andrew’s was a safe, happy place for all children.”

In a letter to parents, the school revealed plans to create a sensory garden in memory of Mr Tuttiett, who was a ‘keen gardener’.

Chairman of governors Andy Pring said ‘Neil is an inspiration for us all’ and his work will ‘help every child flourish’.

Fran Martin has been installed as acting headteacher, with support from local education leader Kevin Lynch.

Mr Lynch described Mr Tuttiett as ‘a unique and charismatic’ leader, adding: “Offers of support to the school since his death have been completely overwhelming, which is testament to the standing of Neil in this community.”

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