It is a case of “school’s out” for a popular Wigan teacher and early years manager who is retiring after 22 years at the pre-school she helped found.
Sue Baker will enjoy her last day at Lamberhead Green Headstart this week.
Her association with the facility goes back to day one when she assisted a school nursery nurse set up somewhere for youngsters before they were ready to begin in reception.
After getting involved as a volunteer Sue was then asked to take over the running of Headstart, now located next to Orrell Lamberhead Green Academy.
Over two decades the place has gone from strength to strength, with Ofsted declaring the nursery Outstanding in its last inspection and the operation growing from a tiny classroom to two rooms in a children’s centre looking after youngsters aged between two and four.
Sue, from Kitt Green, says it is the right time to pass the running of Headstart on to other hands and spend more time with her large family.
She said: “It has been amazing to see the development of the provision. It has changed a lot but we’ve tried to keep our provision very much the same.
“I feel verystrongly it needs to be play-based provision which is carefully planned and prepares children for their future education.
“We’ve managed to achieve that and Ofsted has recognised it, which my staff worked very hard for.
“Seeing children progress is a delight, and as we’re on the school site you see them straight through school. It’s also been great to see the development of the provision from a tiny classroom with two of us to now being a pre-school in the children’s centre.
“It’s a lovely way to leave it and I hope it will carry on for many years to come.
“I think we all come to a point where we need to retire. I’m looking forward to slightly more relaxed days in the future, but I have 11 grandchildren to keep me busy.
“I don’t have any other plans at the moment. Retirement is an open book until September.”
Sue says she has always thought of herself as a teacher but in recent years has taken on the role of nursery manager as well as being in the classroom.
She will say goodbye to Headstart on Friday with the traditional end-of-year teddy bears’ picnic and games on the field behind the building.
Headstart now takes up to 60 youngsters in its pre-school and a further 24 in the room for two-year-olds.