During her teaching career, Shirley Gould has had 104 end of terms. But after 35 years, the West Moors Middles School assistant headteacher is breaking up for the last time.
After 28 years at West Moors, she is taking early retirement. And while fellow staff and pupils are sad to see her leave, they threw a series of celebrations worthy of such a long-standing teacher.
A special assembly followed by a tea party with cakes and juice for the youngsters, gave headteacher James Rielly chance to thanks Mrs Gould for all she had contributed to the school and he led a standing ovation for the “excellent teacher”. The choir also sang ‘So Long, Farewell’ from The Sound of Music complete with actions.
Mrs Gould told the children and guests including headteachers, her mother and husband, that she had taught over 10,000 children during her career, which started at St Leonard’s Middle School, in Blandford.
Asking the children if she had taught any of their parents, she went on to discovered that one pupil’s grandparent had been in her class at West Moors..
Her message for the pupils was to take every opportunity they are given and believe in themselves.
She also paid tribute to teaching assistants Dawn Ward and Helen Wakeford for their support.
The celebrations also included a party for ex-colleagues and she provided a disco for the children.
Mrs Gould, who has two children, said she is looking forward to finding time to garden, knit, play the piano, cycle, cook and visit Rome during her retirement. She may also take a course on teaching children with hearing impairment.