Last bell for heads after retirements

Retiring headteacher Mary Grist with Year Six leavers, staff and chairman of governors Cyril Hearn at Whaplode Primary School.'''Photo:  SG230713-113TW www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto
Retiring headteacher Mary Grist with Year Six leavers, staff and chairman of governors Cyril Hearn at Whaplode Primary School.'''Photo: SG230713-113TW www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto
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After a total of almost 40 years working at the same schools, two headteachers have taken assemblies for the last time this summer.

Mary Grist who worked at Whaplode Primary School for 21 years, the last 11 years as headteacher, and Heather Beeken who has ended a 17-year association with St Paul’s Primary School, Spalding, are both preparing for a new chapter in their lives.

Heather Beeken at her final assembly with pupils and staff at St Paul's Primary School, Spalding. 'Photo:  SG230713-115TW www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto

Heather Beeken at her final assembly with pupils and staff at St Paul's Primary School, Spalding. 'Photo: SG230713-115TW www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto

The pair were given emotional and memorable send-offs from pupils, staff, parents and governors at their respective schools after decades of service in an ever-changing educational environment.

Mrs Grist (57), who joined Whaplode Primary School as deputy headteacher in 1992, was presented with gifts, including an apple tree, jewellery, champagne and chocolates during an end-of-term assembly at the school.

She said: “There were parents of children who left a few years ago who came back to the school to tell me how they were doing and it made me realise how much I’ll miss being part of Whaplode and the community.

“But I’ve left the school ready to move on to the next phase and with great kids, excellent staff and lovely parents, the school is ready to fly.”

Mrs Beeken (60), who was headteacher for 12 years, said: “I think it’s the right time to retire as I’ve spent half of my working life at St Paul’s.

“I’d like to think there have been a lot of changes and lots of improvements in the way we deal with the school community.

“I had an absolutely fantastic send-off, with so many surprises, and I was very touched by all the cards and gifts from pupils, staff and governors.”