Pupils bid fond farewell to Fence school teacher retiring after 26 years

Pupils at Wheatley Lane Methodist School said a fond farewell to a teacher retiring after 26 years’ service.

Simon Parker, Helen Parker, Tracy Hallows, Rev. Marian Taylor, Rev. Phil Taylor.
Simon Parker, Helen Parker, Tracy Hallows, Rev. Marian Taylor, Rev. Phil Taylor.

Helen Parker originally volunteered to listen to children read when her son, Tom, joined the reception class in 1995.

Mrs Parker enjoyed her time with the pupils so much, that she enrolled with Lancashire County Council’s retraining programe and qualified as a primary school teacher.

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She was later offered a placement at the Fence school where she remained for the remainder of her career.

Passionate about sport, Mrs Parker increased the pupils’ participation in inter-school competitions, and would often take her class out running through the village, until new health and safety regulations ended it.

The Year 5 teacher was also heavily involved in the Jaguar F1 Primary School Challenge - a national competition where pupils designed and built a supercar to race against other teams. The children had great success, reaching three successive finals.

Mrs Parker said: “It has gone too quickly but I’ve enjoyed teaching here.

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“I will really miss the children and staff. I really enjoyed all the sporting activities we used to organise and getting the children involved in as many different sports as possible.

“We took full advantage of the Pendle Sports Partnership and really increased the level of participation. Another great memory was taking part in the Jaguar F1 Challenge and building a car to race against other schools and having a lot of success at it.

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“Taking the children to Low Mill was also an important part of school life, which was really enjoyable for both the pupils and staff.

Mrs Parker began teaching in 1983 after training as a secondary teacher teaching history and A-level government and politics.

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She said: “My first job was teaching A-level students, which was strange because I was only four years older than they were!”

Pupils also said goodbye to school chaplain Rev. Marian Taylor after three years. She and husband Rev. Phil have moved to Dundee.

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Both Mrs Parker and Rev. Marian received gifts at a special leavers’ assembly.

Headteacher Tracy Hallows said: “Helen has been a much-valued colleague and given outstanding education and emotional support to all the pupils who have been in her care.

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“Helen has been committed to the role of PE/ sports coordinator for many years. Her passion for encouraging all to be active has certainly inspired many children to pursue both careers in this field and to develop this own personal fitness.

"Helen has always been active in promoting the Christian ethos of our school and has on many occasions supported pupils in leading our Education Sunday Service, amongst others.

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“It was with sadness the governors accepted her resignation as class teacher but we are hoping that Helen will continue to support the school in a voluntary capacity.

“We wish her and Simon much happiness in their retirement.”

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Mrs Hallows added: “Rev. Marian really has been a gift from God in the brief time she has been with us. It has been such a blessing to have a Chaplain who was in walking distance from school.

“She has given much above and beyond her call of duty and supported many families and staff through this difficult 18 months of the Covid pandemic.

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“Marian has supported the school in introducing new aspects to both our worship and RE lessons, a legacy that will remain. She brought a pink elephant to our first Holy Communion, an image that will always stay with me!

“Sadly, she is moving too far away to be a regular visitor but I know many have made a lifelong friend in Marian.

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“We wish Marian and Phil much happiness in their new home in Scotland and look forward to hearing of their continuing ministry.”