A headteacher was showered with gifts from children and colleagues as she said goodbye after 24 years with her school.
Carol Slight, of Arunside Primary, retired at the end of term, 10 years after stepping up to the top role following the sad death of the previous head, Yvonne Royale.
Mrs Slight joined Arunside as a part-time special needs co-ordinator, based in what was fondly described as “a broom cupboard”.
Over the years, under the leadership of three headteachers, she became full-time, enabling her to develop support and initiatives to help the children in her care make successful progress. Her guidance and leadership in the emotional period following the death of Mrs Royale prompted one colleague to say: “Thank you for helping us when we need you the most.” Another added: “Thank you for always being there for the children, the families and the staff.”
In January 2007, Mrs Slight’s role as headteacher was made permanent.
Looking back at her time in charge, governors Lynda Lowe and Diana Searle said: “The years since then have been busy and successful, as Arunside has grown and flourished. Mrs Slight was instrumental in the development of an extensive building programme which has seen pupil numbers grow as the school becomes a two-form entry primary.”
Mrs Lowe and Mrs Searle said Mrs Slight would be “greatly missed” and added: “The children and their families have benefitted from Mrs Slight’s outstanding leadership and guidance over the years, and she has led the staff to become a forward-looking inspired team who always have the children’s best interests at heart.”
Staff threw a farewell tea party for Mrs Slight on Monday (December 12), while a special assembly was held on the last day of term.
Early Years and PSHE teacher Davina Watson said: “Mrs Slight’s commitment, passion and caring attitude has led Arunside through both challenging and exciting times.
“She has created a warm, friendly school where the children are full of energy and enthusiasm for learning and life.
“She has supported families and staff tirelessly and encouraged and helped them to bring out the best in the children.
“We will miss Mrs Slight when she retires but we will do our best to continue to make her feel proud of her Arunside family.”
English teacher Juliet Gallagher added: “ Mrs Slight is a wonderful headteacher. She has a kind heart and really cares about all of the children. She will be sorely missed.”
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