Radley is more than a school, it’s a community, and it’s not uncommon for teaching and operational staff to stay here for many years. This year we celebrated with 17 colleagues who have given exceptionally long service to Radley, and to welcome new members of the 20+ club.

Sarah Ballard, HR Director, who herself celebrated 20 years at Radley this year, said ‘it’s wonderful to mark the long-service of our staff in this way and we are very mindful that long-service is not something to be taken for granted. Our staff are such a key part of what we do at Radley and it’s always been a privilege to be involved in celebrating with colleagues when they reach the 20 year milestone, but this year it feels a bit surreal to be joining them.’ Sarah arrived at Radley in 2004, following two decades working for an international firm of chartered accountants. When she joined Radley a part-time HR Administrator she was a team of one but the challenge of setting up a new HR department single-handedly had been noticed by a future colleague, Dusty Evans.

Dusty takes up the story, ‘I began working in Shop on weekday mornings when my son James was young. Sarah and I started working here on the same day, and my background was in HR (or Personnel as it was then!). I had noticed how busy she was and once James started school I helped with filing in the afternoons and before long I was working full-time in HR.’

Dusty and Sarah built up the HR department together, putting in place many of the systems and processes still used by the team today.  When Payroll came under the HR remit this year, a relocation to new offices was essential to accommodate the team of seven!  After 14 years in HR, Dusty moved to the Health Centre before taking up her current role as Administrator in the Housekeeping department. She even had a stint covering as K Social PHM in December 2020 which she describes fondly, saying ‘I know I was able to help and have an impact on the boys’ lives and that was really special.’

Rob McMahon, Head of Politics, credits the combination of the academic (in particular having been able to teach his specialism, US government, for 20 years) sports coaching and pastoral duties as the reason he has stayed at Radley. He recalls his first impressions, ‘I was very excited by the way the campus looked, the resources available and things like form mastering, being part of F Social and teaching Games were a real attraction.’

Caretaker Alan Bishop laughingly says that he was clear during his interview in 2004 that he’d only be staying five years… fast-forward a few more years and Alan has remained one of the ten-strong team of Caretakers who keep the campus moving, tackling anything from blocked pipes to broken furniture. Alan says the boys are always respectful and courteous, ‘they’ll say hello, hold a door open for me if I’m carrying a load of boxes, and thank me for fixing something in their room. It’s nice to watch them as they go from quiet Shells to confident 6.2s.’ Alan can remember when many of his jobs – delivering parcels and collecting rubbish and recycling – were done using a milk float. Every boy used to have a newspaper in the morning, so there was a lot of recycling. He also recalls the laundry float, nicknamed the ‘Radley Flyer’.

There is a wonderful sense that we are all working in the same direction. Everyone – dons, operational staff, boys – is pushing to make the place better.

Roger and Simona Shaw celebrated their 20 year anniversary this year, although Roger has an extra few years to add to that, having first joined Radley in 1992. Roger was invited by Steve Rathbone to join a school trip to Romania in 1995 as part of Radley’s Community Partnerships project, where he met Simona who was one of the translators. The two married in 1999 and had their marriage blessed in Radley’s Chapel. Roger had been appointed Head of Maths at The King’s School Chester and the couple started their family there before returning to Radley in 2004 with their two young sons.

When asked what he likes about working at Radley, Roger reflected that ‘although everyone works hard here, there is a wonderful sense that everyone – dons, operational staff, boys – is pushing in the same direction to make the place even better.’ The couple feel that the sense of community at Radley makes people feel connected and want to stay, saying ‘the long service celebration is a lovely way to highlight this and reminisce with those who have fond memories of their time here.’