CHILDREN and staff at Coventry’s Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School have bid a fond farewell to higher level teaching assistant and learning mentor Barbara Ward.
Barbara, who worked at the school for 24 years, had a last day to remember – she was driven there in a Jaguar Mark 1 car with all the children and staff lining the playground waving posters, banners and flags.
She visited each class to say her goodbyes and enjoyed a special lunch before an assembly was held in her honour.
Barbara began her career at Sacred Heart as a lunchtime supervisor in September 1998 when her daughter Charlotte joined the school.
She then progressed to work on the school’s literacy support programme, helping children with additional needs before going on to become a teaching assistant and then a higher-level teaching assistant.
She took on a role as a learning mentor and launched a Rainbows Group to support children going through difficult situations and a Boomerang Group to help pupils with their emotions.
Barbara also played an integral role in setting-up the school’s before and after school provision, which has been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.
She said: “When I came through the gates as a parent, little did I know I would spend my whole career at the school.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Sacred Heart. It’s a lovely place to work with a real family atmosphere and everyone is so supportive – I’ve made friends for life.
“The children have all been fantastic and some former pupils are now parents themselves, so I’ve taught generations of the same family which is lovely.
“I’ve also had connections with Sacred Heart Church since my childhood, so to be able to continue this into my adult life has been very special.”
She added she had made some fantastic memories with the pick of them being year six trip to Dol-y-Moch in 2004.
“I was walking at the back with two girls who had fallen behind during a walk to visit the mines, and even though it was snowing I picked them both up and carried them to catch-up.
“I was that tired when I got to the mines I struggled to walk around there myself! It was an exhausting but fantastic trip.”
She said she was incredibly proud of launching the before and after school provision to support parents.
“The children love attending and it was a real achievement to get the Outstanding Ofsted rating.
“I had a fantastic final day celebrating my retirement and the car was a lovely surprise. I’m now looking forward to my retirement and will be spending more time with my 12-month-old granddaughter Alice.”
Paul Madia, Executive Principal at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, said: “Barbara has made an incredible impact on the school throughout the years and she will be thoroughly missed by children and colleagues alike.
“We’re pleased to have given her a fantastic, and much deserved, send-off and we wish her the very best for her retirement.”