A MUCH-LOVED headteacher retires today (Fri) after 32 years of dedicated service at the same school.
Linda Whittaker is leaving Diamond Wood Community Academy for the final time after arriving as a class teacher in September 1987, when it was known as Ravensthorpe Infant & Nursery School.
Mrs Whittaker became head in 2004 after progressing over the years from group leader to deputy head, then acting headteacher.
The mother-of-one, who lives in Hanging Heaton, had an extra special retirement event at Diamond Wood on Wednesday which was attended by key members of staff who she’d worked with over the last three decades.
Other than six months on a short-term placement at Eastborough beforehand, the 60-year-old has spent her whole teaching career at the school.
“As the school changed and developed it never felt the right time to move on,” she said. “There was always something more to do!”
Now Mrs Whittaker plans to spend more time with her infant grandson and the rest of her family, as well as relaxing on the East Coast – but she says she’ll always stay in contact with the school and its staff.
“The thing I’ll miss the most is the fun and laughter – not a day goes by without it,” she said.
“It doesn’t detract from the learning because of the staff’s passion and dedication to their roles and their desire to instil a love of learning in the children.”
The school caters for almost 400 pupils aged between three and seven and in April received a ‘Good’ rating from Ofsted – an achievement from which Mrs Whittaker takes a huge amount of pride.
Diamond Wood became an academy in February 2014 and is part of the nine-school Enhance Academy Trust.
Current deputy Sally Titherington will become head of school, with an executive head teacher from the Trust mentoring her in the role.
Mrs Whitaker said: “I know I’m leaving the school in good hands and it will continue to build and grow – I have every confidence that the school will continue on its amazing upward journey.”