Head teacher Elizabeth Hush is saying goodbye to St Mary’s First School in Berwick having spent virtually her whole teaching career there.
The last day of term tomorrow promises to be an emotional occasion for Mrs Hush who has spent the last 33 years at the Newfields school.
“I’m getting more apprehensive as my last day approaches,” admitted Mrs Hush. “We had an achievement assembly the other day and I could feel myself welling up so who knows what I’ll be like when it all comes to an end!”
She has been part of the fabric of the school and the wider community for so long that it is a wrench to leave.
“It was a difficult decision but I wanted to go and do things for myself,” she explained. “My two boys, Michael and Martin, are now through university so I felt the time was right.
“I’ll miss the children most of all,” she confessed. “The best part of every day is being with children who are willing to learn, are kind, caring and still have a sense of awe and wonder.
“I’ll also miss the staff, governors and the parents, quite a lot of whom I also taught. I’ve been here so long that I have become part of the community. It’s been a wonderful job and it’s been a privilege to work with the children.
“There is a lot I will miss but I have lots of exciting plans and I’m looking forward to having time to carry them out.”
Among them, she hopes to go travelling and take on some physical challenges.
“I definitely want to do some extended travelling in Asia,” she said. “I’ve also bought a bike so while I’m not planning the Tour de France I’d like to take on some cycling challenges and I’ve signed up to do the Kielder 10K run in October.
“It’s going to be nice to have the time to do that sort of thing without restrictions,” she explained. “Being a head teacher isn’t just a 9-5 job, it’s all encompassing and difficult to remove yourself from.”
Edwin Hair was head teacher when she arrived at St Mary’s in 1981, having worked at several schools in the town over the 12 months prior to that.
“My memories of teaching at that time include whole school trips with parents on double decker buses to Ingram Valley,” she recalled.
“Children built dams in the river, played rounders, went on a hill walk, had a picnic - all this without a risk assessment or form to fill in. Happy days!”
There has been a massive advance in technology too with ipads now used in the classroom.
“I remember to access training I physically lifted the old BBC model into the back of my car with all the attachments and took it to the venue!”
She took over the head teacher’s role from Wilf Renton in 2006. Her replacement from September will be Gary Hilton, currently north area manager of Northumberland Locality Inclusion Support Teams.
There have been many highlights including the Queen’s diamond jubilee and the celebrations for the school’s 40th anniversary at Newfields.
“I’m taking away lots of happy memories with me,” admitted Elizabeth.