After a career spanning a quarter of a century a learning support assistant at Burnham Market Primary School has decided to retire to, as she describes it, “have more time for me and my family”.
Carole Tooth, who said her farewells at her final day on Friday, added: “This job is the best thing I have ever done. I liked the work and could never think of doing anything else.”
Mrs Tooth has seen five head teachers come and go during her 25 years at the school and quickly ticked off the names: “Pritt, Godson, Barnes, Corner and Hales”.
The current head, Mrs Rachel Stroulger, praised her as an invaluable member of staff: “We would like to thank her for her endless dedication and care that she has shown to hundreds of children as they’ve passed through the school. We will all miss her greatly.”
Mrs Tooth said her work at the school has changed greatly over the years. “At first all I had to do was jobs like taking down posters and label books. But over the last ten years I’ve been on lots of courses involving things like reading a phonics – helping children to learn.”
But, at times, her job has also had a more personal touch. “Three of my four children came though the school and I was a classroom assistant to all of them. And then later three of my grandchildren followed them.”
However, it was not only different generations of her own family that passed though her hands and Mrs Tooth said: “I’ve also seen the children of many former pupils also come though the school.”
Despite retirement she finds it hard to completely break her link with the pupils and says she will return to the school from time to time: “I’m not finished completely. I’m still coming back as a volunteer and helper in the classroom.”
Mrs Stroulger added: “She’s already said she is coming back to serve ‘peas and carrots’ at the Christmas lunch.”