Much-loved head retires from post

NRHNBE111219b2, Horsley woodhouse primary school headteacher hilary Shipley retires.
NRHNBE111219b2, Horsley woodhouse primary school headteacher hilary Shipley retires.

TECHNOLOGY may have changed, children may have come and gone, but there has been one ever present at Horsley Woodhouse Primary School – Hilary Shipley.

The much-loved head of the 125-pupil school has called time on her 27-year spell at its helm to take early retirement.

The long serving head said: “I’m going to miss all my staff they have been really good friends and colleagues. They have been really supportive.

“I’m going to miss it so much. I have shed tears most days since half-term!”

On the surface Horsley Woodhouse Primary School has changed a lot since Mrs Shipley started there as a teacher in 1984.

She had previously worked at Loscoe Primary and was 31 at the time. Within five years she moved up to the position of deputy head and the following year she took over the top spot.

Back then the village school had just 71 pupils and the National Curriculum had only recently come into effect. Places of learning had just been given extra responsibilities in controlling their budgets under government reforms to education.

A computer room at the school contained only the early BBC home computers, which were limited in function and the focal point of every classroom was a simple chalk board.

Now Mrs Shipley says the school has hi-tech touch-screen ‘smart-boards’ and powerful computers in their place, and the education system has undergone countless reforms.

“The changes I’ve seen as a head teacher have been absolutely incredible,” Mrs Shipley added. “When you consider every new initiative and health and safety change, they’ve been mammoth really.”

But the primary school head managed to ride with the times well and has remained a popular figure in the village community.

The new headteacher is Liz Peach, formerly of Somerlea Park Junior School in Somercotes.