A HARTLEPOOL-BORN headteacher is set to retire 24 years after he took the reigns at a town primary school.
Barry Lennard, 65, took over as headteacher at Barnard Grove Primary School, in Hartlepool, in September 1988.
The dad-of-four says the school has changed “immeasurably” since then and recalls Religious Education being the only subject the school was obliged to teach and an annual school budget of £8,000 compared to the current £1.5m.
Mr Lennard described his “immense pride” at having worked at the school for the last 24 years ahead of his final week before retirement.
“You often hear about teachers giving a school how ever many years but I don’t see it like that, Barnard Grove has given me 24 years and it’s been very challenging but immensely rewarding,” said Mr Lennard.
“I will never forget the sense of community we have helped to build here at Barnard Grove and the ethos.
“People walk into the school and straight away they can sense the care we have for our children.”
Mr Lennard was born in West Hartlepool and studied at Lister Street Junior School.
From a young age he aimed to follow his dad’s footsteps into education. Charles Arthur Lennard taught at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, in the town, for a number of years.
Mr Lennard secured his first teaching job in Scunthorpe in 1969.
He spent a number of years as deputy at Sunnyside Primary School, in Middlesbrough, before joining Barnard Grove.
Looking back on his time at the school, Mr Lennard, who lives in Billingham, says he has a number of highlights.
“We have had some very good inspection reports and SATs results which are always extremely satisfying,” added Mr Lennard.
“But in terms of my highlights, it’s always fantastic to see our children achieve success when perhaps it’s beyond the expectations you had of them.”
Mr Lennard now plans to enjoy his retirement with his wife, Marion, 64, a retired teacher who also taught in the town.
He says he intents to take a few more holidays and spend time in his workshop where he enjoys woodwork.
He also plans to practise and perform as a guitarist with his new band, Tailored Dummies.
Lee Walker, current co-headteacher at the school who will take over in September, said: “Barry has had such a big impact on our community.
“Some of our ex-pupils from when Barry first started now have children coming to the school which shows just how many youngsters he has worked with over the years.
“He played a great role in my personal development and he cares a lot about the school, the children and their families.
“He will be sorely missed by all of the staff and pupils.”