A headteacher who has been the heart of a village primary school for nine years bid an emotional goodbye last week as she retired.
Pupils and staff planned a surprise tea party in the school grounds as a farewell to Janet Lord, who has truly made her mark at Langham Primary School during nearly a decade in charge.
In 2010, Mrs Lord was recognised for her hard work as she was given the regional Primary Headteacher of the Year award in the Midlands Teaching Awards.
And earlier this year, she was invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of her service to education. She later gave an assembly to the children dressed as the Queen and she believed it was this that inspired her party.
She said: “I honestly didn’t have the slightest inkling - I thought I was going to be showing a new parent around so it really was a complete surprise.
“Spotlight Dance Group performed for me and all the children were really enthusiastic. They made me a big hat and gave me a corsage. It was such a great party and it was really touching.”
The weekend before Mrs Lord hosted a Ceilidh to say thank you to the staff, governors and Parents and Friends Association, who have supported her.
During the occasion, she was presented with a box full of photos from her time at the school, which she said was filled with “amazing memories”. She also received a rattan hanging garden chair and a bottle of Champagne to crack open on her last day.
Although Mrs Lord’s last week was an emotional one, she said at 66-years-old and with the various changes in education, she felt the time was right to retire.
She said: “This school has been my absolute passion and it’s grown beyond belief, both physically and academically. It’s now bursting at the seams and I’m so proud of our outstanding Ofsted rating.
“I’m extremely sad to leave but I think the time is right.”
But Mrs Lord added: “I certainly don’t feel 66 and I’m not going to be putting my feet up and relaxing!”
When the school term resumes in September, Mrs Lord and her partner will be jetting off to Dubai to ease the blow of not returning to school and they plan to do a lot of travelling, as well as “all the things we’ve just not had time for”. She is also considering putting her years in education to good use by becoming a speaker to share her experiences.