Tributes paid to headteacher who saved Burnham Grammar School from closure

Tributes paid to headteacher who saved Burnham Grammar School from closure

Emma Billingham

Tributes paid to headteacher who saved Burnham Grammar School from closure
Tony Saunders

The man who saved Burnham Grammar School from closure during the 1980s has died at the age of 80.

Tony Saunders, who was headteacher at the school in Hogfair Lane from 1975 to 1993, has been remembered by former colleagues as gentlemanly, courteous, kindly and scholarly.

The Cambridge University graduate was responsible for the highly respected reputation the school earned through top academic results as well as sporting achievements.

Tony is also remembered for his hard work from 1985 to 1987 when he fought to keep Burnham Grammar School open when the pupil population fell to just below 400.

He galvanised the parents’ association, governors, local councillors and MP to realise how much of an asset the school was to the village and that it should be saved.

Students numbers increased year-on-year after the successful campaign.

Dr Tony Branfield, science teacher at the school since 1971, said: “Under Mr Saunders’ leadership a vigorous campaign was mounted resulting in Bucks County Council changing their mind about the school closure.

“During his time at the school he maintained a sense of gravitas while having a good sense of humour and remaining very approachable to both staff and students.

“He encouraged students to have high aspirations and to realise that the top universities were within their grasp.”

Tony is survived by his wife Barbara, son and two daughters.

He developed pancreatic cancer earlier this year and died at his home on May 13 in Chipping Campden, where he moved after his retirement.

Jill Hackett, who worked as Tony’s deputy headteacher from 1983 to 1985, said: “Tony was a very compassionate man. He worked very hard for the school.

“His commitment and enthusiasm were an inspiration for his colleagues and pupils.”

Tony’s funeral will be held at St James’ Church in Chipping Campden on Wednesday.

All are welcome.

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