Pupils bade their headteacher a fond farewell as she is starting a new county-wide role after the Easter holidays.
Louise Mallin joined Stead Lane Primary School in Bedlington in September 1997 straight out of university to do a day’s supply in the nursery section.
This became a week and then the full school year. She was then permanently appointed at the school as the Year 3 class teacher, starting in September 1998.
She progressed to assistant headteacher in 2001 and became the head in 2010. Her new job is school improvement leader, first and primary schools, for Northumberland County Council.
Speaking before the holidays started, Louise said: “I know this week is going to be hard because the school has been a huge part of my life and I will miss my friends here and the pupils that make me smile every day.
“I have been in a privileged position to see the development of so many wonderful children over these years and I have received great support from parents and carers.
“I applied straightaway in 1998 when the Year 3 class teacher position was advertised as I was really enjoying being at Stead Lane and I grew up in Bedlington, so it was brilliant to be back.
“It was a great decision because I have many fantastic memories of my time at the school.
“Although I will miss Stead Lane enormously, I’m looking forward to meeting many new people and visiting schools across the county.”
It switched from a first school to a primary school in September 2012, with confirmation of the change only coming in July of that year.
Louise said: “It took a lot of hard work, but I have a brilliant staff team and we pulled together to make sure that everything was ready in time.
“It helped that we’re on a big site so we had the space to expand.
“I’m also grateful to local organisations such as East Bedlington Parish Council for funding that enabled us to run extra activities for the pupils.”