It’s party time as long-serving teacher says farewell to Hitchin nursery school team

York Road Nursery School teacher Camilla Francis is retiring at the end of term after nearly 20 year

York Road Nursery School teacher Camilla Francis is retiring at the end of term after nearly 20 years. Also pictured is school guinea pig Honey. - Credit: Archant

A long-serving nursery school teacher who has helped hundreds of Hitchin children start their education journey will be saying farewell at the end of the summer term.

Camilla Francis, who has been part of the team at the town’s York Road Nursery School for nearly 20 years, is hoping to see as many former parents and pupils as possible at an afternoon tea party she is throwing to mark her retirement.

Anyone who has had connections with the school, and in particular her pupil groups, over the past two decades will be welcome at Christchurch on the afternoon of Saturday, July 16, from 2pm.

She said: “I’ll be delighted to see anyone I’ve ever had a conversation with over the years, on subjects ranging from conkers to couscous – as well as any children I have taught.”

Camilla, 59, whose early years were spent in Germany and Cyprus as part of a forces family before settling in North London, originally qualified as a solicitor after completing a law degree, working in London and North Herts before setting up her own firm in Luton.

She moved to Hitchin with husband John in 1981 and, after starting a family – sons Dan, 30, and Ged, 26, both went to York Road – and becoming involved in early years education as a volunteer, she decided to retrain as a teacher.

After qualifying she worked at North Herts primary schools including Lordship Farm in Letchworth and Strathmore and Our Lady’s in Hitchin before joining York Road.

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She later completed an Open University degree with a focus on child psychology to extend her understanding of young minds.

“Working with a new group of children, and their parents, every year has been so rewarding,” she said. “Each child is special, each has something unique to offer.

“I will miss them terribly, but I certainly won’t miss the paperwork and the form-filling. York Road is a very precious school and I will always have happy memories.

“People have asked about presents, but I have received so many gifts over the years – if anyone would like to make a contribution to the school fund to help pay for a new playhouse, I would appreciate it.”

Guests at the afternoon tea will be provided with tea and sandwiches, but anyone who would like to come along is asked to register with numbers by emailing teawithmrsfrancis@gmail.com before Friday, July 8. Contributions of cake will be welcome on the day.

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