Five long-serving teachers bow out after 144 years at Wellsway School!

Published on: 05 Aug 2017

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The end of term marked the end of an era for five long-serving teachers at Wellsway School.

Dave Sage, Kath Cox, Patricia Baker, Lou Riddoch and Hazel Price all left the Keynsham secondary at the start of the summer holidays after racking up 144 years’ service at Wellsway between them.

Although he has officially retired after 34 years at the school, pupils haven’t seen the last of science teacher Mr Sage as he will be returning in September on maternity cover and to run the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

He said highlights during his time at the school included taking students on Wellsway Challenge expeditions to destinations such as Ecuador, Canada and South Africa and meeting former students who have gone on to have successful careers in science.

“You never know when something you say will inspire a student to follow a certain path,” he said.

Mrs Baker joined Wellsway in 1988 as deputy head, a role she held for 26 years until she moved to work for the Wellsway Multi Academy Trust in 2014.

“I think people stay because of the strength of friendships, the support between staff when things get tough, their ever-present commitment and their ongoing desire to do the best for the Wellsway students,” she said.

Kath Cox, who has taught maths and been a head of house during her 30 years at Wellsway, said it was often the many extra-curricular activities that stuck in the mind as highlights.

“Maths weekends with Year 7 and 8s, concerts, school productions, watching cricket with a coach load of students, ski trips, activities weeks, tennis tournaments, sports days … ie out of the classroom where some amazing conversations have happened and some amazing student skills have been displayed,” she said.

Hazel Price arrived at Wellsway in 1993 to teach French and German, and also recalls some memorable school outings – particularly one where staff and students were struck by a sickness bug.

She said: “On the plus side, we ended up having to be flown home rather than enduring a 26-hour coach journey!”

Head of PE Louise Riddoch said her highlight during her 27 years was celebrating the London 2012 Olympics at the school, with students visiting the Games, welcoming athletes and then Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Mrs Riddoch is taking up a lecturing post on the PGCE PE course at Bath Spa University.

Wellsway School principal Matthew Woodville said: “We are incredibly fortunate at Wellsway in having a staff team with an enormous wealth of experience, skills, knowledge and expertise.

“The staff leaving us this summer have given decades of dedicated service to the young people of Keynsham. Many families in the area owe them a debt of gratitude and will want to join me in wishing these teachers every happiness in future.”

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