End of an era as Lyndale's much-loved headteacher retires after 18 years

Wirral Globe: Pat Stewart has retired from her role as headteacher at Lyndale after close to 20 years at its helm. Pat Stewart has retired from her role as headteacher at Lyndale after close to 20 years at its helm.

A MUCH-loved headteacher walked out of her school’s doors for the last time on Wednesday after almost 20 years at its helm.

Pat Stewart has dedicated her life to providing the very best education for some of Wirral’s most vulnerable children and has become a real pillar of the community.

After 18 years in charge at the Lyndale School, Pat is now looking forward to her retirement and plans to spend time with her daughter Amanda and grandchildren, five-year-old Hope and three-week old Amelia.

The 62-year-old, who first became headteacher of the Eastham school back in 1996 when it was based at its former Clatterbridge site, said it was “overwhelming” and “surreal” to be retiring but said she feels “the time is right”.

Despite the difficult times ahead for Lyndale, pupils, parents, staff and family and friends filled the school's hall on Wednesday afternoon to say farewell to the women they have come to love with all their hearts.

As well as receiving dozens of bouquets of flowers, cards and gifts from her colleagues and pupils, mother-of-one Pat, who lives in Wallasey, was also gifted with a special performance from Lyndale’s children.

Speaking to the Globe, Pat recalled her first moments at the Lyndale, when it was placed in special measures by Ofsted.

The school, then based at Clatterbridge, was in need of drastic improvements and Pat was exactly the person to oversee them.

With her leadership and focus on working with parents, Lyndale soon became an outstanding school, a standard it has retained ever since.

Pat also played a crucial role in finding the school’s current home on Lyndale Avenue, something she describes as her career “highlight”.

She said: “Moving to the new school is the highlight of my time here at Lyndale, and to have the most talented staff anybody could ask for.

“It has been a huge privilege to be a part of childrens’ families.

“I have so enjoyed my work and this job has been the best job in the world.”

Chair of governors and Eastham councillor Tom Harney, added: “After moving to the new school we soon became an outstanding school and that was a tribute to all of the staff, but in particular, to the leadership of Pat.”

Another of Pat’s career highlights was when she was awarded an OBE for services to special needs education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1999, but she believes that was a “celebration of everybody’s work”, and not just her own.

Pat, who worked as an education officer in the Army from 1974 to 1977 and also has a teaching qualification in yoga, said her time will now be spent with charity work and will allow her to focus more on her passion of playing the trombone.

Julia Hassall, Wirral’s director of children’s services, attended Wednesday’s celebration.

She said: “It is a day to celebrate all that you have achieved, the difference you have made to the lives of so many children through your leadership, the difference you have made to family’s lives who know their children are safe and secure in the school.

“I know we are in changing times but I wanted to say, personally, you have been kind and courteous and thoughtful in your dealings with me.

“You have made a tremendous difference to so many children’s lives and I want to say a great big thank you from us all.”

Deputy headteacher Kim Owen, who will now take over from Pat, shed a tear as she too paid tribute to the pillar of the Lyndale community.

She thanked Pat for everything she has done, adding: “She has dedicated her life to giving the children the very best care.”

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A 12-week consultation on the closure of the Lyndale School is currently taking place. It will close on Wednesday, June 25.

You can view and take part in the consultation by clicking here.

Feedback can be sent by post to The Lyndale School Consultation, Children and Young People’s Department, Hamilton Building, Conway Street, Birkenhead, CH41 1FD, or by email to specialreview@wirral.gov.uk

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A number of consultation meetings are also taking place.

Wirral Globe:

 

Comments (2)

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12:37pm Thu 1 May 14

Cheesy Peas says...

Hassall - Hassle? - shouldn't have dared show her face.
Hassall - Hassle? - shouldn't have dared show her face. Cheesy Peas
  • Score: 3

7:28pm Thu 1 May 14

piermaster says...

We'll done to you Pat,enjoy your me time you deserve it after a lifetime of service!! From all your friends in New Brighton.
We'll done to you Pat,enjoy your me time you deserve it after a lifetime of service!! From all your friends in New Brighton. piermaster
  • Score: 1

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