Mary-Jo Hill

20 Oct 2020
We present you one more of the amazing Norfolk's headteachers: John Neenan from Aylsham St Michael's CofE VA Primary and Nursery School.

Half term is here and we have a new ‘Know your Head’ interview!

After challenging weeks with many changes and difficulties, half term is finally here. To celebrate the achievements that were made so far, we have the pleasure to add a new chapter to the ‘Know your Head’ series.

So, today, we present you one more of the amazing Norfolk’s headteachers. John Neenan is Aylsham St Michael’s CofE VA Primary and Nursery School headteacher since 2018. We thank John for taking the time and, without further notice, introduce him to you.


My favourite book is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I love books which give you an element of escapism from the real world. I grew up reading a lot of fantasy novels like Lord of the Rings and then Harry Potter. I’m now at the stage where my children are able to read some of these books and the joy of sharing these stories with them gives me such an amazing feeling. I feel that reading opens the door to the world, fun and knowledge.


At the moment I am watching ‘Once Upon a Time’ on Disney Plus. My family and myself love Disney and have been privileged enough to visit several Disney Parks over the years. So this programme is right up our street. My personal favourite TV series of all time is the ‘West Wing’, American political series, I find American politics fascinating.

Preferred social media, if any?

For me I really prefer Instagram. I like running and I follow several people who belong to the same running club. I actually have two profiles one for family and friends and one for health and fitness.

Most useful social media for school communications during lockdown?

Facebook was essential for us to be able to deliver information and online learning during the lockdown period. Although our school is part of Aylsham we have many families who live out in the country side where the internet is temperamental at best. We put our lessons on Facebook, Youtube and Purple Mash to try and ensure all families could access learning one way or another. However, Facebook worked the best. For most of lockdown I read a story live nearly every day for the children of our school. This was done with the permission of the authors.

What is keeping you grounded during this time?

I’m a very lucky person to have so many loving and caring people around me. Firstly my wife and children. I’ve been with Lindsay since I was 17 and she was 16 so after 20 years she knows me pretty well, she’s a teacher too so also understands to rigours off the job. I have three amazing children who are 9, 7 and 2 years old. I then have a wonderful extended family. My colleagues at St Michael’s are like an extended family, the support there is incredible. To give myself headspace I go running and more recently fishing. This past weekend I completed my first Half Marathon, something I never thought I would be able to do, so as I write this I’m still riding the running high!

Unexpected positive outcomes of this half term?

As a Church of England School we have a daily Collective Worship. Due to Covid-19 we have been holding these via webcam. I was worried that the same level of interaction couldn’t be reached and the children’s behaviour would slip. I have been pleased by this as I still want Collective Worship to be a spiritual and nice experience for the children.

What are you looking forward to over half term?

Family time! Just time to be with my family where I can pack away the laptop for a few days at least and stop being Mr Neenan and be Daddy.

A wish for next half term?

This is simple, for everyone to be healthy and happy.