Two of the longest serving and most respected primary school headteachers in Newmarket have said their final farewells to pupils and staff.
Jane Eccleston, headteacher at All Saints Primary School, and Angela Finn, headteacher at Ditton Lodge Primary School and Kettlefields Primary School in Dullingham, heard the school bell ring out for the final time yesterday.
Mrs Eccleston’s decision to call it a day ends a nine and-a-half year association with All Saints, along with bringing to an end a 25 year career working in education.
Starting out at St Peter’s Church of England Primary School, in Sible Hedingham, the 60 year old has since enjoyed spells at Westfield Primary School and St Felix Primary School in Haverhill, and the now renamed John Falkner Infant School in Sawston, prior to taking up her role at All Saints in April 2005.
“It has been great to be part of such a fantastic team. The staff, parents and families have really made All Saints a happy school to work at and one at which values every individual,” said Mrs Eccleston.
“We have been a good school consistently throughout my time. Our last Ofsted had more outstanding elements in then before. I feel that I am leaving the school in a good state.”
During her time in charge at All Saints Mrs Eccleston has overseen some of the biggest changes the school has had to undergo since setting up.
“There has been a lot of change in terms of buildings and taking on Years Five and Six,” she said.
“The creation of the Eccleston Arena is the culmination of a lot people working together to build something which is a real asset.
“I will miss school life but I have other things to move on to now like family commitments and hobbies I want to pursue while I am looking forward to having a holiday in September.”
Much like her outgoing equivalent at All Saints, Mrs Finn, who has been headteacher at Ditton Lodge for 11 years, and Kettlefields for the past three years, has also reflected back on her time with fondness.
“It has been such a privilege to have worked in this job,” said Mrs Finn, who has also taken on teaching spells in Essex since joining the teaching ranks back in 1979.
“To watch the children grow up and be part of their lives has been amazing. It really has been the best job in the world and I wouldn’t have swapped it for anything else.
“I suppose the biggest achievement would be achieving an outstanding Ofsted at Ditton Lodge and forming that partnership with Kettlefields. The partnership has been a great challenge but it has definitely improved teaching standards.
“Another real passion has ben helping to form the Anglian Gateway Teaching Schools Alliance which is a government initiative to encourage school-to- school support and collaboration to help schools improve.”
Although retiring the 56 year-old will not be putting her feet up just yet with plans in place to jet out to central America next month to help under privileged groups.
“I have recently become a grandmother so I will become more involved in becoming a grandparent but next month I am flying out to Nicaragua to be trained in compassion ministry at Isaiah House to work with under privileged groups,” said Mrs Finn
“I am only heading out their for 10 days but it could lead to other things. “
Succeeding Mrs Finn as executive head teacher at both Kettlefields and Ditton Lodge will be Dr Chris Marshall who arrives from Wheatfields Primary School in St Ives, while taking over at the top at All Saints will be Jane Trampnow from Clements Community Primary School, in Haverhill.