Otterton head says farewell to “wonderful” pupils

Retiring Otterton Primary head says working with children has been “a privilege”

HEAD teacher at Otterton Primary School, Pat Fowler, says goodbye to her pupils today, Friday, as she takes early retirement.

Since she joined the school in 1998, Pat has seen it grow from 56 pupils and two classes to 87 children in four classes with five teachers, including herself.

“We have no room physically to expand anymore though within the school we will have spaces available in September as Class Six leaves for secondary school,” said Pat, who said parental preferences had seen the catchment area widen.

Moving from a larger primary school in Leicestershire, Pat said: “It was a very big change to come here, but it was a challenge, a little scary but everybody was just so welcoming.

“It is such a lovely village to work in and I’ve had the most amazing set of parents every year. They are very supportive of the school because they want it to succeed.”

Pat, from Payhembury, says the Christian ethos the school works to is most important.

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It works in harmony with St Michael’s Church, alongside the school, which is used for performances and weekly assemblies.

Pat went into teaching in 1976 because she wanted to work with children.

“It is such a privilege working with children and see them grow and develop into young adults,” she said.

“They can be challenging and yes, they are hard work, but it is fun. I will miss the children and the relationship with staff, children and families here.

“I have worked with a wonderful staff who are caring, dedicated and professional.”

Otterton Primary will link forces with Drake’s Primary, East Budleigh, with Carron Saunders as executive head for both.

Also leaving Otterton this week are teacher Lucy Archer, who is off travelling the world with boyfriend Simon Alcock, and the school’s administrator, Cilla Franks, who is also taking early retirement to see more of her daughter and grandchildren in Essex.

Lucy said: “This is my third year at the school and I’ve loved it. It has been a fantastic start to my teaching career.”

Cilla, from Exmouth, joined Otterton Primary seven years ago, and has worked in schools since 1984.

She said: “I have three grandchildren in Essex and two in Taunton and don’t get to see as much of them as I’d want to.

“It is just such a wonderful family feeling to work at this school and Pat is the most amazing head to work for.”