Gifts for head on his last day

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By KELLY PIPES news@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk

A HEAD­TEACHER has left a city school for chil­dren with spe­cial needs af­ter nearly three decades.

Dou­glas Thomp­son re­tired from Helt­wate Spe­cial School, in Helt­wate, Bret­ton, on Fri­day in what was an emo­tional last day of term filled with gifts and good­byes.

The 55-year-old fa­ther and grand­fa­ther, from Stam­ford, joined Helt­wate as a teacher in 1984 and won pro­mo­tion to head­teacher eight years ago.

Be­fore the school bell rang for the very last time he paid trib­ute to ev­ery child he had taught.

He said: “I’ve worked with some of the nicest chil­dren in Peter­bor­ough, who de­spite their learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties are kind and car­ing to­wards each other.

“High­lights have been see­ing the school change around me in terms of the build­ing, with a new li­brary, a new staff room, class­rooms and a room for chil­dren with autism.

“My vi­sion for the school was to pro­vide some of the best fa­cil­i­ties for some of the need­i­est chil­dren in Peter­bor­ough and the lo­cal au­thor­ity helped me with that.”

Ap­pre­cia­tive par­ents joined forces with their chil­dren to cre- ate a hand-made book­let of good luck mes­sages for the much-loved head­teacher.

The spe­cial gift was pre­sented with rounds of ap­plause and heart­felt cheer­ing.

Mr Thomp­son said; “The sup­port of the par­ents has been im­mense over the years.

“They’ve come into the school giv­ing sup­port with their chil­dren and sup­ported our ac­tions.

“I leave the school in good hands with fan­tas­tic staff and the new head will move the school on.

“Next I’m go­ing to re­lax and start to make plans, per­haps do some house build­ing work and some sea kayak­ing in the Scot­tish He­brides.

“The staff have given me lots of money to­wards a new kayak and I’m re­ally thrilled with that.

“My wife has bought me a black Labrador puppy for Christ­mas to get me out of bed to walk it!”

Mr Thomp­son had taught sci­ence at Bret­ton Woods School in the late sev­en­ties be­fore he joined nearby Helt­wate.

As head­teacher at the school, which caters for pupils with mod­er­ate to se­vere learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, he won a “good” rat­ing in an Of­sted as­sess­ment this April.

He said: “I love this place and I’ve been re­ally blessed in my ca­reer.

“No two days have been the same. It’s been amaz­ing.

“I’m a big strong Ge­ordie, so I’m de­ter­mined I will not cry.”

Of­sted in­spec­tor De­clan Mc­Carthy con­cluded that Helt­wate of­fered “out­stand­ing care, guid­ance and sup­port”.

In his re­port, he said: “Helt­wate School pro­vides a good ed­u­ca­tion for its pupils.

“Par­ents and car­ers are very sup­port­ive of the school.”

One par­ent, re­flect­ing typ­i­cal views of par­ents and car­ers, wrote: “This school has been the mak­ing of our son and we couldn’t ask for any­thing more for our child.”

An­other wrote: “My daugh­ter had learned so much in two years be­cause it is a very good school. I am glad my child goes there.”

The re­port praised the lead­er­ship shown by Mr Thomp­son, who had “worked hard and very suc­cess­fully to build a strong team of peo­ple who all share the same am­bi­tion for the school”.

Mr Thomp­son will be suc­ceeded in the new year by Ja­son Brooks, from Le­ices­ter­shire.

pas­tures new: Dou­glas Thomp­son with school gov­er­nor Gill Gil­bert pre­sented with re­tire­ment gifts by the pupils of Helt­wate Spe­cial School. (METP-16-12-11RH114) Pic­ture: ROW­LAND HOB­SON

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