In 1975 Michael Pipes came to Portsmouth as the founding Head of City of Portsmouth Boys School. By 1980 he had featured in Songs of Praise at Portsmouth Cathedral and was successfully running this very large inner city comprehensive school of 1700 teenage boys.
In May 1981 he was invited to became a Governor of The Portsmouth Grammar School heralding a period of co-operation aimed at improving education across the city. For thirty-five years he was a Governor working with a succession of distinguished Heads; Tony Evans who was Chairman of HMC and progressed to KCS Wimbledon; Dr Tim Hands, also Chairman of HMC and now Headmaster of Winchester College; James Priory who is moving on to Tonbridge School in September 2018.
At the time it was relatively unusual for colleagues within state and independent schools to collaborate, but both schools shared an interest in raising educational standards within the city and PGS was keen to benefit from Michael’s experience and insight.
From 1987-88 Michael was President of the National Association of Headteachers, becoming a significant figure within education. He served on several important national committees; the Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (CATE) Schools Council; National Foundation for Education Research; Council of the Institute of Physics and as Vice Chairman of Governors of Portsmouth Polytechnic during transition to University status. He has also served as the Headmaster of Warminster School, an independent, co-educational, day and boarding school, and his final job was as a member of the School Improvement Team at Ofsted.
James Priory says “Over more than three decades Michael has been an extraordinarily dedicated governor to PGS. As a former teacher of Physics, he has encouraged the promotion of STEM subjects and championed scientific literacy amongst boys and girls, but Michael has also cared strongly about the roundedness of young people’s education, including their experience in the creative and performing arts and the importance of their personal development and well-being. His advice about changing trends in teaching, learning and assessment has been invaluable. Michael retired as a Governor in December 2016, having in all likelihood been one of the longest serving governors in the country. We are all thrilled to see his contribution as a governor to PGS and his lifetime of service to education more generally recognised in the award of an MBE. He helped to guide PGS through considerable changes during his time as a governor including the move to full co-education. We are delighted that he continues to play an active part in the life of the school, alongside his wife June, herself a former Headteacher in Portsmouth, in his capacity as a Governor Emeritus.”