Pupils thank seven class acts for their long service to the county's school life as they head for retirement

Banbury Cake: Kim Amos with pupils of Bletchington Primary. Picture: OX53173 Antony Moore Kim Amos with pupils of Bletchington Primary. Picture: OX53173 Antony Moore

A “fabulous” primary teacher has retired after 38 years’ work.

Helen Jennings, 59, retired from Botley Primary School this week.

Mrs Jennings, the school’s Key Stage One co-ordinator, said: “It’s great here; we’re a friendly bunch, and have the children’s interests at heart.

“I most enjoyed putting on productions. I love teaching – leaving is not easy.”

Headteacher Alison Marsh said: “She’s just fabulous. She started every year like newly qualified teacher, she was just so excited.”

Mrs Jennings plans to enjoy dancing, learning Italian, playing golf and acting. She added: “I am 59, but I feel 35.”

  • STAFF and pupils at a primary near Didcot staged a concert to sing goodbye to their headteacher.

Dad-of-three Richard Jones became headteacher of Hagbourne Primary School in East Hagbourne in 1989.

When he joined the school in Main Road 23 years ago, there were 87 pupils.

There are now 209 pupils and the school has been judged outstanding by Ofsted inspectors since 2008.

Mr Jones, 61, retired yesterday after 40 years teaching and he and his wife Jean, a retired geography teacher, are travelling to Hong Kong, Vietnam and Cambodia in September.

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He said: “I’ll miss the school. It’s been my baby for so many years. But I hope I’ll be invited back occasionally to support the new head, and catch up with staff room gossip.

“I hope to celebrate 20 years as a magistrate next year, a voluntary job I’ve treasured over the years.

“I also hope to give some spare time to the Great Western Society at Didcot Railway Centre.”

During his time as headteacher at Hagbourne Primary, Mr Jones, from Abingdon, has encouraged teachers to link up with schools in other parts of the world, including Australia and Uganda.

And in the staff room he has earned the nickname ‘the Richard Branson of education’ after starting a number of money-making schemes.

This includes running a fleet of minibuses which bring in £14,000 a year.

Following the concert on Wednesday, Molly Davey, 11, from Didcot, said: “Mr Jones is a very enjoyable teacher in his own fabulous way.

Oliver King, 11, from East Hagbourne, added: “Mr Jones is fun and exciting, and makes all of his lessons understandable and interesting.”

  • PARENTS and pupils are saying farewell to a long-standing member of staff at Longfield Primary School in Bicester.

But it won’t be goodbye for good, as co-ordinator and foundation stage teacher Catherine Davies plans to return part-time in September.

Mrs Davies first started working in schools in and around Oxfordshire 25 years ago as a part-time teacher.

She has spent the last 23 years working at Longfield Primary and retired yesterday from her role as co-ordinator. She described her time at the school as: “Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.”

Whilst she said she was sad to be leaving her role she will return two days a week to do what she “truly loves” and teach foundation children.

When asked what she plans to do with her new free time she replied: “To relax in my home in Crowton, and do what others may describe as boring stuff. I also wish to travel.”

  • BLETCHINGDON Primary School is saying goodbye to its headteacher Kim Amos after 16 years of service.

Mrs Amos, 55, said she was happy to retire, but would miss the children, colleagues, school and village events such as May-day dancing, Easter extravaganza and pancake day tasting that uphold the years of tradition and create such a close-knit community.

She said: “I love how teachers get to know whole families.”

That included earlier generations, many of whom have been to the school themselves as pupils. She said everyone got involved, from grandparents to babies.

Although sad to leave such a familiar environment Mrs Amos said she was happy to be returning home to Pembrokeshire, beside the sea, where she hoped to spend more time with family.

  • A SPECIAL school teacher who has worked with hundreds of children with severe and profound learning disabilities has said a final goodbye.

Louella Sharkey, 58, has taught at John Watson Special School, Wheatley, since 1983.

She said she felt “fine” about retiring — but would miss the children who made it such an “inspirational” experience.

She said: “There is a huge bond between everyone, not only with the children but the teaching staff as well.

“They rely on close communication.”

She said teaching assistants and parents were particularly important at the school and added: “We get to know the whole family of the pupils.”

What stood out most in what Mrs Sharkey described as an “amazing” experience at the school was the field trips, which she says were “ very important”.

She has worked towards saving the Oxfordshire-run Yenworthy activity centres which are now facing closure, where youngsters taught at the school recently had a fantastic holiday.

  • BRIGHTWELL-cum-Sotwell pupils said farewell to much-loved staff member, lunchtime helper and confidante Hazel Baldwin.

Mrs Baldwin, 74, is sad to be leaving the school, where she been for 24 years, and didn’t ever want to retire. Headteacher Liz Hunt said: “We estimate Hazel has helped with 400,000 children’s meals, and has a positive impact on all the children'.

Mrs. Baldwin said she would miss the children and the ‘frequent stories at lunch of the mischief they had got up to.’ She added: “I’m sure I wasn’t supposed to know half the things they told me!”

She said goodbye by making more than 40 scarves for the girls of the primary school and will use her new found extra time to bake more cakes.

  • A WITNEY headteacher who dedicated her life to helping children has retired. Marilyn Trigg, 60, has worked at The Blake School in Witney for the last 10 years.

And before her 25 year teaching career she was a social worker in Middlesbrough.

She said: “In both cases, in social work and teaching, I had a deep love of children and care for them and wanted to do the best I could for every child.”

Mrs Trigg was brought up in Yorkshire and moved to Oxfordshire to retrain as a teacher at Oxford Brookes University 25 years ago.

Before The Blake Primary School, she worked at Burford Primary School, West Kidlington Primary School and Witney Community Primary School.

Mrs Trigg said: “For the last 10 years I have lived and breathed this school. It is going to be difficult not to do that in the future.”

She plans to spend her retirement visiting her grandchildren in Middlesborough and travelling with her husband.

But she will continue working part-time for Oxfordshire County council as a schools’ improvements officer.

Comments (1)

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9:28am Mon 23 Jul 12

Man on the Green says...

There are some truly wonderful teachers & and headteachers in this list, and an invaluable staff member in Mrs Baldwin too.

But because of the incentives offered to teaching staff to take retirement as early as possible (to cut wage bills), schools across the county are losing extraordinary talent far too young.

Look at the ages of those retiring: Mrs Jennings, 59, Mr Jones, 61, Mrs Amos, 55, Mrs Sharkey, 58, Mrs Trigg, 60.

We do need to stop and think as a country whether we can really afford to let them go when they could still give so much.

It has recently been announced that the state pension age will go up to 67, and researchers have concluded that 1 in 5 of those alive today in the UK (including these fortunates) will live to become centenarians. As a society we will be paying their pensions for a very long time, and the children whose contributions will be required to keep paying those pensions will need the very best teaching possible to have a productive future.

And yet the brightest and best are amongst those we are losing.

The Swedish Prime Minister recently said that children today can expect to have to work until 75 to pay for the pension legacy of the present generation. It looks like he might be right...
There are some truly wonderful teachers & and headteachers in this list, and an invaluable staff member in Mrs Baldwin too. But because of the incentives offered to teaching staff to take retirement as early as possible (to cut wage bills), schools across the county are losing extraordinary talent far too young. Look at the ages of those retiring: Mrs Jennings, 59, Mr Jones, 61, Mrs Amos, 55, Mrs Sharkey, 58, Mrs Trigg, 60. We do need to stop and think as a country whether we can really afford to let them go when they could still give so much. It has recently been announced that the state pension age will go up to 67, and researchers have concluded that 1 in 5 of those alive today in the UK (including these fortunates) will live to become centenarians. As a society we will be paying their pensions for a very long time, and the children whose contributions will be required to keep paying those pensions will need the very best teaching possible to have a productive future. And yet the brightest and best are amongst those we are losing. The Swedish Prime Minister recently said that children today can expect to have to work until 75 to pay for the pension legacy of the present generation. It looks like he might be right... Man on the Green
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