Mixed emotions as much-loved headteacher retires from Hartlepool school

Jan Brough with pupils as she retires as headteacher at Ward Jackson C of E Primary School, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID
Jan Brough with pupils as she retires as headteacher at Ward Jackson C of E Primary School, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

Retiring headteacher Jan Brough was showered with gifts and love on her last day after more than a decade at school.

Jan joined Ward Jackson Church of England Primary School as assistant head in 2004 and has been at the helm for the last 10 years.

Jan with one of the many cards she received.

Jan with one of the many cards she received.

In that time, the school has grown in numbers, become a faith school and is a closer part of the local community.

Many parents, grandparents and former pupils joined staff in a special worship on the last day of term to say goodbye to Jan.

“It has been a really emotional but happy day,” she said. “I have enjoyed every single minute I have spent with the children.

“I’m sure I will be back, no-one ever truly leaves Ward Jackson.

“It will always have a special place in my heart.”

Jan spent almost 40 years in education after first working as a nursery nurse in Billingham.

She has spent all of her teaching career in Hartlepool and worked at Greatham Primary School before joining Ward Jackson, in Clark Street.

It became a church of England school six years ago and parents are attracted by its family ethos.

Jan, who lives in Hartlepool, with her partner Steve, said: “We became a church school in 2011 which was an amazing achievement.

“We are much more a community school now.

“I’m most proud of the children and achievements and successes they have had while I’ve been here.

“They leave us and go to secondary school well prepared, and feel they can come back at whatever stage of their life and catch up.”

Among those at Jan’s farewell worship were former pupils who are now getting ready to go off to college or university.

She was inundated with presents from wellwishers including a cake, flowers, framed picture of the school, flowers, chocolates and hand-made gifts and cards from the children.

“It has been a really special morning,” added Jan. “I have mixed emotions, about retiring as teaching and being with children has been such a big part of my life.

“But I know the school is going to be in good hands with the new headteacher.”

Deputy head David Akers will be the new headteacher from September.

Jan added she is looking forward to spending more time with her family, travelling and enjoying some time to herself.