A headteacher who has dedicated 40 years of her life to working in education has retired from a Northampton primary school.
Rita Arundel led East Hunsbury Primary School, which is part of the Northampton Primary Academy Trust, for 21 years before she retired last month.
At her final assembly, Rita was presented with a jug emblazoned with children’s fingerprints and a quilt they had made.
She also donated some money for a reading chair in the school.
Rita said: “It has been an absolute privilege to lead such a vibrant school with such enthusiastic and engaging children, supported and challenged by caring, dedicated staff.
“I have always tried my best to lead the school firmly and fairly, with compassion and rigour, ensuring that every individual is valued equally, feels included and encouraged to aspire to be the best they can be.”
Kathryn Pennington, who joined the school as deputy headteacher in June 2020, has now taken over as leader of the school.
Rita added: “In Kathryn, I am delighted to be placing the school in such skillful, ambitious, caring and enthusiastic hands.
“I look forward to watching the school continue to improve and excel – and I know that the school will continue to make memories for generations to come.”
Born and raised in the county, Kathryn gained a first-class BA (Hons) Primary Education degree at the University of Northampton, and also worked as a specialist literacy consultant supporting school leaders worldwide.
Kathryn said: “I am proud and privileged to be headteacher of East Hunsbury Primary School.
“I always wanted to be a teacher from a very young age, and as my career has developed I have always wanted to be a leader.
“My vision is for us to be a community-driven, family-focused school that delivers an ambitious, inclusive and enabling curriculum in which all children achieve exceptionally high standards from their given starting points.
“We want to be a school where everyone wants to be because they feel happy, represented, valued and prepared for every stage of their lives: the village school in a town that achieves the same as a private school.
“Children only get one chance at primary education, and it is our responsibility to make their education the best it can be.
“As headteacher I will always act with all children at the centre of my decision-making.”
Kathryn also paid tribute to her predecessor and vowed to build on her legacy.
“I get very emotional talking about Rita – we both share a love of East Hunsbury – and she believed in me, guided me, listened to me, has been a big support in the transition, and I am so grateful to her,” she said.
“The foundations laid by Rita are really solid. She has, and always will be, at the heart of the school’s DNA. Under Rita’s leadership the school has offered a wealth of experiences which inspire the children – and we will strive to develop opportunities further across areas such as the arts and sports.”
The chair of the school’s governing body and the CEO of the school’s trust also paid tribute to Rita’s hard work and welcomed Kathryn.