Dedicated Baldock governor of nursery school steps down after more than five decades

Ellen Wilkinson is stepping down after serving as a governor at Weston Way Nursery in Baldock for mo

Ellen Wilkinson is stepping down after serving as a governor at Weston Way Nursery in Baldock for more than 50 years - Credit: Archant

A dedicated supporter of Baldock’s Weston Way Nursery School is stepping down – after being a governor for more than five decades.

Ellen Wilkinson, known affectionately as Wilkie, was the longest serving governor in the county when she took the decision to step down and was presented with a pair of cut glass champagne flutes as a parting gift.

Reflecting on her long service, she said: “The work of a governor was rather minor but useful when I was first appointed, the business taking little over an hour once per term.

“Looking back to the late 1960s I am amazed at how little most of us had – cars, central heating, even telephones and TVs were not commonplace. The nursery provided full time places which were very useful, and school dinners were cooked and served daily.

“The numbers were not high, with between 60 and 80 children on roll, but there was a waiting list of 140.

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“Places were highly-valued and the school routine proved to be a big help prior to children going to primary school.

“The nursery had surprisingly little in the way of materials, the emphasis being on social skills and developing physical skills – cutting, pasting, drawing, singing, listening to stories and, of course, enjoying the woods and grounds.

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“Nowadays, the nursery not only teaches social skills and prepares children for primary school but is now the foundation for lifelong learning.

“In my time as a governor, I have worked alongside four heads and many staff, most of whom are, and have been, very long serving.”

She says that the biggest change in her time came with the introduction of local management of schools.

She recalled: “Formula funding was introduced and governors and staff were given the task of managing the school budget – suddenly everyone had to learn to manage the money and the way it should be used by the school.

“The county council set up lots of training sessions not only on the monetary side but also to help us deal with premises, the curriculum and staffing. I even attended night school to learn how to use computers when they were introduced into school classrooms – I was probably the oldest student there!

“I’ve always found the work as a governor to be most fulfilling and would thoroughly recommend anyone thinking of helping their community in this way, to do so.”

Head Jane Millett said: “We feel Wilkie is a true champion of the nursery, tirelessly working for us on many fronts. She is much appreciated and we all think very highly of her. We wish her a very happy, healthy, long retirement.”

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