Telford teacher bids farewell after 30 years at same primary school

A primary school teacher has retired after 30 years teaching youngsters at the same school – but the final day wasn’t quite what she had planned.

Gillian Newell in her garden with her delivery of flowers
Gillian Newell in her garden with her delivery of flowers

Gillian Newell has taught at Lawley Primary School in Telford for the last three decades and planned to enjoy her last day on Tuesday, July 20.

Sadly the NHS app told her she had to isolate so any face-to-face farewells were missed.

However her sadness turned to joy when her first grandchild Fearne River was born a little early on the Sunday – just two days before Mrs Newell’s official retirement day.

Pupils sent her their good luck cards and the bouquet of flowers due to be presented to her was instead delivered to her home.

Mrs Newell moved to Telford in September 1982 straight from university.

Prior to working at Lawley Primary School, Mrs Newell worked at Donnington Wood Infants School and Norton Village School – which was a two-teacher school.

From left, Jensen 9, Edward 9, Penny 9, Leah, 9, Darcy 10, Harman 9 - pupils in Year 4 who had Gillian Newell as a teacher this year.

Looking back over 30 years at Lawley, Mrs Newell said: “When I came to Lawley in September 1991 there were five classes, all in demountable classrooms because most of the old school had been demolished.

“After two terms we moved into the new building, which at first seemed enormous. Since that time the pupil numbers have tripled, two more wings have been built on and the five classes have gone up to fourteen.

“I find it hard to believe that I have been teaching at Lawley Primary School for thirty years. I am now teaching the son of another member of staff who was also in my class many years ago.

“I have seen many changes and been part of many new initiatives. As a keen runner, one of my favourites is the Daily Mile, which I love joining in with my class.

“I feel privileged to have taught so many wonderful children and worked with such a dynamic but caring staff.

“The last year has been challenging and exhausting for everyone. I am looking forward to having more time and energy for my family and my other interests, which include music, sewing, and church activities.”

Mrs Newell doesn’t plan to stop still as she was looking forward to the birth of her first grandchild in August but her granddaughter made an early appearance and was born on the same day as Mrs Newell had her last day in school.

She is also looking into training as a part-time yoga teacher.

Headteacher Carol McQuiggin said: “Mrs Newell has dedicated the last 30 years of her life to Lawley Primary School. Her knowledge and experience of teaching is immense and hundreds of children have had the benefit of being taught by her.

“Over the years she has put her ability to play the piano to good use , engaging many children in the joy of music and singing.

“She is a key part of our school community and will be greatly missed by us all. We hope she enjoys her well- deserved retirement and takes many happy memories of the time she has spent at Lawley with her.”

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