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LIVERPOOL CATHEDRAL CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
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Dennis Hardiman MBE, executive headteacher of two Liverpool primary schools, is retiring after 37 years.
Dennis has served St Sebastian's Catholic Primary School in Fairfield for 37 years and for the last 14 years, he has also been the headteacher of St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School in Stoneycroft.
He was born in New York, USA, in 1951. His mother was born in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, and married a US Naval Officer during WWII and settled in the USA after the war.
Dennis has 11 brothers and sisters, including a twin sister. His family eventually moved to Penarth, South Wales in 1960, so that the family were close to his mother’s family.
Dennis started his teaching career at St Pascal Baylon Catholic Primary School in Childwall, where the head, Colin Semple, mentored him and he soon became deputy head.
The late Fr Patrick Kelly, who was parish priest of St Sebastian’s and chair of the school governors at the time, appointed Dennis as headteacher in September 1983, making him the city’s youngest headteacher. They both had a burning ambition for the success of the children and the school.
St Sebastian’s was soon named a ‘beacon school’ to share good practice with other schools. Located in an area of severe deprivation, Kensington was declared a ‘regeneration area’ under the EU Objective One Programme in the 1990s.
All schools in the Kensington and Fairfield area worked hard to raise standards. Part of the regeneration plan was to start with the youngest of the area to allow their parents to work or gain qualifications. There was no nursery in the area so Dennis and the school governors of St Sebastian’s were asked to establish a nursery to serve the community. In 2004 ‘The Field of Dreams Nursery’ opened as part of St Sebastian’s school.
St Sebastian's and St Cuthbert's federated under one governing body with Dennis as executive headteacher in 2006.
Throughout his tenure, he has ensured that the children achieve the best they can, which is reflected in SATs results and OFSTED inspections.
In 2017, Dennis received a well-deserved MBE for his services to education, although he is still an American citizen.
On receiving his MBE Dennis commented that this was a ‘humbling’ personal accolade, he said: “I consider this an award that belongs to others also – my patient, supportive, loving family, and wonderful and generous colleagues, past and present, whom it has been my privilege to work with and learn from, and also the many supportive parents and fantastic children I’ve been privileged to work with”.
Such was his standing in the community over 700 people attended a Mass at St Sebastian’s Parish Church to celebrate Dennis’s 25th anniversary in charge in 2008.
Pat Moloney, chair of school governors, said: “Mr Hardiman is much loved and respected by the children, staff, parents and local communities who have seen what he has done for the children and the schools.”
Clare Bellis-Knox, who will be taking over from Dennis as head of St Cuthbert’s said: “Dennis’ determination that only the best is good enough for our children inspires everyone in school to strive to achieve their best.”
Jacqui Mulligan, who is taking over from Dennis as head of St Sebastian’s said: “Dennis has steered our schools to many successes over so many years for which everyone is truly grateful.”