“There is always something every day that brings you joy.”
That was the parting message from head teacher Elaine Kay-Devanney as she handed over the running of Blackgates Primary School to new co-head teachers Sarah Bunnage and Julie Coulson.
The 59-year-old retired from the Tingley school after 17 years on Friday. Her last day was marked with celebrations including zulu dancing and African drumming.
And each year group presented her with gifts including a ‘This Is Your Life’ inspired book.
Mrs Kay-Devanney, who took her first teaching job 26-years-ago, said: “A school community becomes like your second family. A child once said to me that I was like the mummy of the school and I just thought that’s how it is.
”It’s quite an amazing experience and responsibility to be a head teacher.
“I feel like I’m handing over a special gift that I know Sarah and Julie will look after.
“I am looking forward to retiring and am feeling positive but this will be a great wrench and it will be very hard to leave the staff and children.”
Mrs Kay-Devanney joined Blackgates Junior School in 1999. In her time as head teacher she has seen the site amalgamate with the infants school to form Blackgates Primary, the formation of a children’s centre and the start of provision for two-year-olds.
She said: “Some of our children have higher level needs but what I’m most proud of is how inclusive we are at Blackgates and how we get all our children involved in everything.
“We are a true community school at the heart of the area.”
Chair of governors Simon Atkinson said she would be “sorely missed.”
He said: “Elaine’s passion and drive have been an inspiration to every staff member and the genuine care she has shown to the many children she has had the opportunity of seeing blossom into confident young people, has been a true delight.”