NINE members of staff will retire from a Newport high school this week - having given more than 230 years’ service between them.
Teachers Neil Ingham, Veronica Beynon, Sue Baker, Gill Smith and Rose Sutton have each been at Caerleon Comprehensive for more than 20 years, while technician SteveWard, senior clerk Caroline Price and lunchtime supervisors June Adams and HeatherWaldron have all been at the school for over a decade.
Mr Ingham, 59, came to teach woodwork in Caerleon in 1976 under then head teacher Granville Pomeroy, having completed a design degree and a four year teaching course in three dimensional studies.
“My memory will be of working with fantastic teachers and colleagues in the school,” said Mr Ingham, from Rogerstone, who has been assistant head teacher for 11 years.
“I started out making things out of wood, almost going back to the pipe racks, but now we use computeraided design and laser cutters, it’s much more technologically design based.
“I’ll remember being part of the team that restored the 1948 Jowett Bradford van and some of my design and technology students helped raise money to build the art design and technology building here on site.”
Two inspirational head teachers which the staff will remember are Clarrie Lapham and Dr Adrian Davies, said Mrs Baker.
“They were excellent head teachers,” said Mrs Baker, 56, who joined the school in 1982 as a chemistry teacher and became head of science in 2007.
“I came here having taught in Bettws for three years, when A-Levels were in their infancy. I have no major plans for retirement, but hopefully lots of holidays.”
One major change in school has been the number of teaching assistants rising from three, when Mrs Beynon joined in 1987, to 30 in 2013.
“We have a lot of children here with diverse needs and the school has a reputation for being able to care well for those children,” said Mrs Beynon, 60, a former head of Year 7.
“I have fond memories of serving up sausages at Year 7 Christmas parties and organising assemblies and music, we were a very close-knit group of tutors.”
Teaching assistant Mrs Adams, 67, still has former pupils coming to see her and letting her know how they are getting on after 25 years at the school, and her children were taught by Mrs Baker and Mrs Beynon.
Mrs Price, 62, who started working at the school in 1987 with the introduction of GCSEs,moved to Caerleon so her children could attend Caerleon Comprehensive, and recalled one day when she had to go out into the village to rescue a lost child and its grandmother.
“No child has left Caerleon Comprehensive without a qualification, and that’s going back some 17 years,” she said.
Although they leave school for good tomorrow, most of the teachers plan to come back for GCSE and A-Level results days.
Mr Ingham said: “We will all get together on a regular basis, because this is the last of the old team.”