Retiring teacher thanks families after 29 years at the same Stevenage school

PUBLISHED: 13:14 31 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:56 31 July 2019

Stevenage teacher Mandy Powell with Martins Wood pupils at her leaving assembly. Picture: Martins Wood

Stevenage teacher Mandy Powell with Martins Wood pupils at her leaving assembly. Picture: Martins Wood

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A Stevenage teacher who has retired after almost three decades at the same school has thanked the many families she has met during her long career there.

Martins Wood's Mandy Powell (second from left) with former head Nick Torry, former deputy head Ann Barber - who drew the picture she is presenting - and current head Tom Evans. Picture: Martins WoodMartins Wood's Mandy Powell (second from left) with former head Nick Torry, former deputy head Ann Barber - who drew the picture she is presenting - and current head Tom Evans. Picture: Martins Wood

Mandy Powell started part-time in the nursery at Martins Wood Primary School 29 years ago and said farewell last week as an assistant headteacher overseeing the early years foundation stage.

Pupils, parents and staff all paid tribute to Mrs Powell with an after-school picnic, assembly and presentation evening.

Reflecting on her time, Mrs Powell said: "It seems unbelievable that I have stayed at Martins Wood for 29 years. When I joined there was only one class in each year group and the nursery, which I went to be the teacher of, only had 26 children in it.

"As time went on and the school became more popular with lots of new housing in the area, the numbers of children grew requiring an afternoon class too, so I went full-time. Some of those early children now have their own children and I have been overjoyed when they bring them to the school for their education.

Stevenage teacher Mandy Powell with Martins Wood pupils at the after-school picnic held for her retirement. Picture: Martins WoodStevenage teacher Mandy Powell with Martins Wood pupils at the after-school picnic held for her retirement. Picture: Martins Wood

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"Over the years the school has expanded further with a pre-school for two year olds, and there's well over 200 children in the early years now!

"It is such a pleasure to welcome so many new families to the school. I have loved meeting everyone, reassuring many, answering their questions and working in partnership with them to help the children grow up the best learners and the happiest people they possibly can be.

"I can't count how many families I have met, but it always gives great pleasure when I bump into my old friends and they tell me how they are doing. I would like, through the Comet, to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to you all."

Headteacher Tom Evans added: "Throughout her 29 years she's overseen so many changes in early years provision at the school. The nursery has relocated several times and is now in a purpose-built building. Establishing Saplings Pre-School was the latest challenge, but at every step she's acted with grace and a good sense of humour.

"So many parents have popped in to say their thanks. It's the first experience of school for many and it is testimony to Mandy that so many have recognised the important role she has played.

"Mandy is a very nurturing, caring person, and her legacy to the school is an absolutely fantastic foundation stage. She will be sorely missed and a hard act to follow."

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