Popular Sheffield teacher says goodbye to school after 29 years in service

A popular and 'extremely dedicated' Sheffield teacher bids a fond farewell to pupils and her colleagues this week after 29 years of remarkable service.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 2:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 2:15 pm

Senior teaching assistant Margaret Howe, 64 couldn't hold back her tears thinking that tomorrow (Friday) would be the last time she steps foot at Whiteways Primary School - an institution that holds a special place in her heart.

The grandmother-of-five said the school has been part of her life and that she was lucky to have witnessed the transformation the school went through over the years.

Not only was her dedication to her career exemplary, she also holds an amazing personal attendance record despite suffering from a broken arm last year, which was the only time she took the time off school.

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Margaret Howe is leaving Whiteways Primary School after 29 years of service.
Margaret Howe is leaving Whiteways Primary School after 29 years of service.

She was also the first person to arrive in school every morning.

Margaret said: "Things have changed so much since the first time I came here. We've had a lot of new building work and we've had a lot more different nationalities of children. It is more diverse now.

"I have a fantastic relationship with the staff, the parents and the children. It's lovely to see how thirsty they are for knowledge. The children are coming from such a deprived area, and I think the children have done so well.

"I will miss the friendship, the children and most of all their parents, who have been supportive not only of me, but the school as a whole."

From left: Inclusion Lead Lisa Whitehead, former head of school, Jennie Nixon, Executive Headteacher Sue Bridges, Margaret Howe, Head of School Anna Cousins, Deputy Head Rachael Kunze and Assistant Headteacher Lindsay Baxter with the pupils.

Margaret, whose all three children attended the same school, also said she felt privileged to have served two generations throughout her time there.

"I'm teaching the children of parents that I taught. Parents are coming back, 'Do you remember me? This is my daughter'. I've seen a lot of children grow up and live in this area and brought the children here."

Asked if she has any plans after her retirement, she said she looks forward to long holidays and "take things as they come."

Assistant head teacher Lindsay Baxter described Margaret as her "school mum" since she joined the school in 2000.

She said: "I started all the way back in July 2000 and she helped me settle, it was not even a proper working day for her but she just came in.

"She is extremely dedicated, and we have been really good friends ever since. She is extremely loving and extremely efficient."

Margaret's distinguished career was also acknowledged by Sheffield City Council who sent her a letter of appreciation for her service.

Director of Education and Skills Andrew Jones said: "You have shown your dedication to the school in a variety of ways and I know the high regard in which you are held.

"It’s not gone unnoticed that you are often the first person to arrive in school each morning, that you regularly work during the holidays to get things sorted, and, your expertise in First Aid is, I am told, legendary.

"From the children, to their parents, to your colleagues and to the many many people beyond the school that know you or have benefited from your work.

"All will be sad to see you leave but all will want to join me in wishing you a long and very happy retirement.”