A leading nursery school said an emotional farewell to a popular headteacher.
During her 38 years at Rosemary Lane Nursery School in Easington Village, Gillian Parker has led the school through five outstanding Ofsted reports.
Gillian Parker, Rosemary Lane Nursery School
But, at the age of 58, Gillian, who lives in Sunderland, has decided its time to bid a fond farewell to the school.
The mum-of-two said: “I came to the nursery in 1977 to take up my first teaching job and I never left.
“I have spent my whole career at Rosemary Lane and I have enjoyed every day, it never crossed my mind to leave.”
Having undergone two knee replacements, Gillian said she finds it more difficult to get up and down on the floor to play with the children and she just feels the time is right to leave.
She said: “I just think the time is right to go, both for me and nursery. It is just time to have more time for myself to relax.”
Although she has been the leader of the school, Gillian firmly believes the on-going success of Rosemary Lane Nursery has been the fantastic team of staff and parents.
She said: “I love Rosemary Lane Nursery, Easington is full of fantastic families, fantastic children and has a really, really supportive community.”
Staff at the nursery held two parties, one for the current families and children, and the other for all the people Gillian has worked with over the years, including education bosses and her former headteacher when she started at the school.
Ann Fenwick, office manager at the school who has worked with Gillian for more than two decades, said: “It is going to be really strange without her. For many Gillian is Rosemary Lane Nursery.”
Jill Jones, current deputy headteacher, who will be taking over the reins in September, said: “Gillian will be a huge miss. I have some big shoes to fill.”