Tributes paid to 'wonderful' first headteacher of Wigan high school

Ian Rayner
Ian Rayner

One of Wigan’s most highly respected headteachers has died, his family have said.

Ian Rayner was the first headteacher of Hawkley Hall when the school opened in 1986.

He died on January 3 after a short illness. He was 81 years old.

Paying tribute to Mr Rayner, his family said: “He devoted his teaching career to the Wigan area.

“Ian was the first headteacher of Hawkley Hall High School, and before that, he was headteacher at Marus Bridge Middle School.

“Ian was an avid supporter of Orrell Rugby Union Football Club and a keen member of Billinge Art Club. His wonderful sense of humour and love of life will be sadly missed by all his family and friends.”

His daughter Jane said: “He was always wanting to go into that line of work (teaching). I think he was a really patient person, and always saw the good in everyone.

“When he retired, he used to do home tuition, for people who’d been expelled from school. He did so many different things to help others.”

She added: “He always saw the best in people.”

Mr Rayner, who lived in Billinge with his wife Pat, became the first head of Hawkley Hall High when it opened in 1986, following a reorganisation of secondary school education provisions across the borough.

The school was initially set up in the buildings of the former Marus Bridge Middle School, while a massive building project took place, and by 1993 the school had moved over to its current site at Carr Lane.

At the time of the move, Mr Rayner said: “Ours is a growing school. Each year since 1986 our number of pupils on roll has increased.

“We are proud of our high school standards and we aim to provide a first rate education for all our pupils.”

After studying at Westminster College at Oxford University in 1961, he enrolled at the City of Worcester Training College in 1962.

He took up his first teaching post at Moss Lane Secondary School in 1962, teaching P.E. and Science.

From there, he would go on to teach the same subjects at Lower Ince County Secondary in 1964.

He then moved to Pemberton Girls School in 1966 to become Head of Science, and took up the same post at Pemberton Middle School in 1972.

During this time, he studied for a degree in education at the University of Lancaster - which he achieved in 1973.

In 1975 he was appointed Deputy Head of Marus Bridge Middle School, a role he left in 1980 to become headteacher at Hawkley Hall Middle School.

He became head of Hawkley Hall High in 1986 at its opening, a role which he kept until retirement.

In 1990, he also received a diploma in advanced study in education from the University of Manchester.

Mr Rayner’s funeral will be held at Charnock Richard Crematorium on January 18 at 10am.