A headteacher is retiring from his role leading a special primary school for the last 11 years.
Karl Telfer, who is leaving Springwell Primary School in Hartlepool after 11 years, said it was “an emotional day” as the children put on a show for his retirement.
He said he was surprised by his pupils as they wore masks with his face on to celebrate their annual sports day.
The 59-year-old was presented with a special trophy by the mask-wearing pupils as he prepared to bow out of teaching after a career spanning 37 years.
Springwell Primary School caters for children with special educational needs and/or disabilties and Mr Telfer admitted leaving will be difficult.
“They’re great children and it will be hard to say goodbye,” he said. “I’ll definitely miss the kids - the workload not so much!
“The sports day was a fantastic event and an emotional day because every single child took part one way or another in an activity and it was a great surprise for me.
“I believe they have a few more shocks in store for the end of term at the leavers’ assembly, but I think I know the least about that at the moment!”
The surprise was organised by deputies Marc Hillan and Louise Hargreaves and the children’s masks were all made individually by each pupil.
And the father-of-two, who has been a headteacher for the last 17 years, is calling it a day after recently receiving the school’s first outstanding grade from Ofsted.
“I would say I’ve had a pretty successful career,” he continued. “To get the outstanding was brilliant.
“I’ve given it my all, every day of my career, and have enjoyed every minute of it.”
Mr Telfer has worked in special needs and disability schools for 30 years and has been a headteacher for the last 17. Children with learning difficulties, autism, challenging behaviour and special needs all attend the school on Wiltshire Way.