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Former Hewett School headteacher Walter Roy dies – share your memories

Dr Walter Roy. Date: Sept 1989

Dr Walter Roy. Date: Sept 1989


Share your memories of former Hewett School headteacher Walter Roy, who has died aged 87.

Tributes have been paid to an inspirational headteacher and trade unionist who believed education did not begin and end in the classroom.

Dr Walter Roy CBE was the first headteacher at the Hewett School, in Norwich, following its formation in 1970, and oversaw the education of thousands of Norwich children before his retirement in 1990.

A committed democrat and defender of teaching, Dr Roy became a prominent voice on educational matters at county and national level. He died in Graz, in his native Austria, on Wednesday at the age of 87.

Rob Anthony, associate headteacher at the Hewett School, said Dr Roy left a legacy to which the school continued to aspire.

“Because he was the first head, he set the standard of the school and the way it works.

“You can still see that now: caring for the children and pushing them all. That was a real strength of his, and he really did work hard for every child.”

Dr Roy arrived in England aged 13, a refugee from the Nazi regime in Austria, and was part of the British Intelligence during the Second World War.

After the war ended, he stayed in England and trained as a teacher, working in Hertfordshire before arriving at Hewett Grammar in September 1969.

The following year he oversaw the merger with Lakenham Boys’ and Lakenham Girls’ schools to form Norwich’s largest school.

He had three children with his first wife, Marjorie, and following her death, married Ariane in 2002. He moved back to Austria in 2007.

Dr Roy was involved in education at regional and national level through his work on the national executive of the National Union of Teachers, Norfolk’s education committee and the East Anglian Examination Board.

His daughter, Kate Russell, said he had interests out of work – when time allowed.

“He was a season-ticket holder at Norwich City, and used to watch them with my brother,” said Mrs Russell, 55. “My parents had a holiday bungalow in Cromer where they spent time. He also loved walking, the Norfolk coast, and had an interest in opera.”

Dr Roy became a CBE in 1976 and published Teaching Under Attack in 1982, highlighting funding cuts in the profession.

A keen traveller, Dr Roy was president and co-founder of the Sonnenberg Association, fostering links between young people of different countries.

Marion Morse, chair of the Hewett governors, called Dr Roy “a great showman”.

“He very much believed in education being more than just passing exams,” she said. “He was a keen supporter of music, sports and arts – and we try to pursue that ethos to this day.”

Terry Cook, a senior Norfolk County Council education officer, said Dr Roy had led the school with distinction, and championed young people and teachers alike. He added: “He will always be remembered with great affection in Norfolk.”

What are your memories of Dr Roy? How will he be remembered? Leave your comments below the article or email

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