Kentish Express Ashford & District
Sadness at death of an influential voice in education
‘His kindness and humanity have been vital’
Tributes have been paid to a former head of governors who played a big part for decades in the education of Tenterden’s pupils.
Ian Kirkland died on January 7 at the age of 70, having taken an active role in the borough’s politics as well as its schools.
Initially serving as the chief solicitor at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, he moved to the area and became a Homewood School parent in the 1990s.
The legal expert eventually joined the school’s admissions appeals committee and became its chair, helping to smooth the transition when the process moved over to Kent County Council.
In 2008 he was elected as a partnership governor to the school’s governing body, becoming chairman in 2010 - a position he held until 2016.
During this time he also chaired the appointment panel which selected Sally Lees as the school’s new principal in 2010.
Upon the Tenterden Schools Trust’s inception in 2016, he became a founding member.
Mr Kirkland continued to be an integral part of Homewood School and the wider trust until December 2020 when he took part in his last AGM meeting, held virtually due to Covid restrictions and the latest lockdown.
Trust CEO Mrs Lees said: “Ian has been unfailing in his commitment to Homewood and the wider trust and his kindness and humanity have been a gentle and vital influence over many years.
“I am personally grateful to him for his incredible support to me during his years as chair of governors at Homewood, firstly in offering me the position of principal back in 2010 and then in providing such excellent support, and appropriate challenge, as I carried out my responsibilities.
“His calm presence and sage advice will be greatly missed by the trust and everyone who worked with him. Our deepest sympathies go to Ian’s wife Elaine and their family.”
Professionally, he rose through the ranks at Ashford Borough Council, starting in 1990 as the deputy borough secretary.
Over the course of a 19-year stint at the authority, he later became borough secretary and then community director.
He also chaired the Friends of Willesborough Windmill group for almost 12 years.
Mr Kirkland’s funeral was held last Friday.