Woodston Primary headteacher's tears as she retires after 21 years at the school

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Jacki Mitchell has been teaching in Peterborough for more than 35 years

The headteacher of a Peterborough primary school has admitted there were a few tears as she said goodbye to pupils for the final time as she retired at the end of the term.

Jacki Mitchell had been head of Woodston Primary School since 2002 – and had worked at three other Peterborough schools since arriving starting teaching in 1986.

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Her 21 year spell at Woodston came to an end on Thursday when she officially retired, having said a fond farewell to pupils and staff on an emotional last day of term on Wednesday, before the summer holidays started.

Jacki on her final day at WoodstonJacki on her final day at Woodston
Jacki on her final day at Woodston

Jacki said: “You come in to teaching to make a difference to children’s lives, to make those connections. There have been lots of changes in the job since I started, but that focus is still there now.

"Seeing children at the end of the last day, giving teachers hugs and presents to say thank you – it shows those connections have been made at the school.”

"There will be days that children will remember for the rest of their lives – some of the highlights have been on those special days, like World Book Days, when I have dressed in Scooby-Doo and Pink Panther costumes, and seeing everyone in their costumes. The residential trips have been incredible, and you really get to see children on a different level on those trips – I remember taking the whole school to Wicksteed Park, which was amazing for everyone. The children will always remember those days.

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"Other highlights include the Ofsted inspections – it is always nice to get that external validation.”

To mark Jacki’s last day, special assemblies were held, and each class had their own special way of saying goodbye.

Jacki said: “Every class made a book, with special messages in them – they were very special, to see how they have matured and how their writing has changed.

“We had assemblies, where the choir sang a special song for me. I have to say, there were a few tears.”

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During her teaching career, Jacki also taught at Middleton , Watergall and Walton schools.

She said: “I will miss all the children, of course, but I will miss the social side. I have had some messages from members of staff thanking me for giving them the chance, and that is what part of the role of head teacher is. It is a big team – the teachers, the teaching assistants, cleaners, kitchen staff – we are all here to work as a team to make a difference.”

Jacki is now planning her retirement – and says she is looking forward to a holiday in September.

She said: “I think I will try and do things I have not had time to do before – I might do yoga or go to the gym.

"I have never had a holiday in September, so I will do that this year.

"It will be very strange on September 4 when the schools go back, and I won’t be there.”