TWO long-standing members of staff at a Leek school have departed from the classroom.
Sue Langford, Head of Physical Education at St Edward’s Junior High School, has taken early retirement at the age of 55 after 33 years at the Westwood Road school.
Meanwhile, headteacher of 12 years, the Reverend John Kime has also said farewell to colleagues and students.
Mr Kime will be starting a new role as Deputy Director of Education for the Diocese of Lichfield in the new year.
Mrs Langford started work, at the age of 22 when the building was home to half of Leek High School.
Two years later in 1981 St Edward’s Middle School opened, later to be named St Edward’s Junior High School.
She said: “It's been a superb job teaching children between the ages of nine and 13.
“I’m going to miss the children dreadfully."
She added: “Education has changed, but you just have to move on with it.
“You have to embrace what is there – open your heart up and take it in.
“I've always tried to maintain the enthusiasm that I had when I started teaching.” She has decided to take early retirement to look after her elderly parents.
She said: “I will miss the camaraderie with the staff and children as well as the liveliness of the day to day contact with the children.” Chairman of the school governors, Reverend Matthew Parker, said: “Sue has made St Edward's an excellent sporting school and she has always gone beyond the call of duty in terms of providing extra school activities and encouraging children to discover their gifts.” He added: “John has been a first class headteacher. He has contributed enormously to St Edward's and has transformed the school during the 12 years he has been with us.” Mr Kime said: “Without question I have enjoyed my time at St Edward’s.
“There is a wonderful family here.
I will miss being headteacher enormously as there are just so many ways which you touch people’s lives in this role.
“Yes, like most jobs, there have been a few tears from time to time, but it has been a deep privilege, a great joy and to be able to make lives better is fantastic.” For the time being assistant headteacher Liz Clarke will be acting headteacher of the school.
St Edward’s, which has around 720 pupils, is set to become an academy in the new school term.
Revd Parker added: “We will begin the recruitment process for a new headteacher in the new year.
“However, we know the school will be in good hands with Mrs Clarke.
“Yes, it may be difficult for her with all the changes regarding academy status.
“But I think she is more than capable in taking on that challenge.”