A RETIRING head teacher said she was sad to ‘leave behind an amazing chapter of her life’ after 38 years in education in Barnsley.

Julie Brown has been the head teacher of Gawber Primary School for 12 years and has been working in schools across the borough for 38 years.

Julie, 59, started her career at Priory - a secondary school which eventually merged with Willowgarth High School to become Shafton Advanced Learning Centre in 2011 - and is now known at Outwood Academy Shafton. After five years there she then went to Wellgate Primary School in Mapplewell and was the deputy head there before moving to Gawber Primary School for the last 12 years of her career.

“I think its a privilege to work in a school with such excellent teachers and it is a lovely community,” said Julie, who lives in Old Town. “Someone has described it (the school) as a hidden gem and it really is, there’s something really special about the school. People are always commenting on that.

“My work here has been trying to get the academic attainment and achievement for children but at the same time having a more holistic approach to education. We have always valued topic work and art and sports and things so we have wanted a balanced curriculum for the children.”

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Julie said she is proud to have worked in all of her schools and that she has many highlights of her time at Gawber. One of those main highlights is when the school got a rating of outstanding at its last Ofsted inspection in February, 2013. The school was described as going from ‘strength to strength.

“Working together as a team to get that rating of outstanding has been a highlight,” added Julie. “We’ve had several pieces of work exhibited in London so that was really good. But really, most of it is the day to day privilege to be with teachers who are teaching well and seeing the children blossom and shine as a result of that.”

Set to turn 60 in December, Julie said she is looking forward to getting back into her hobbies.

“I do want to wind down and relax a bit more and I want to go back running,” said Julie.

“I do still run a bit but not as much as I would like to. I’d also like to travel too.

“I’m also going to be a grandma at the end of September. It is a happy time for me and it is the next chapter after a really happy career. I have had a really enjoyable career - which not many people can say I suppose.

“I am sad to leave, as everyone here is like a family, but it’s time for me to retire and enjoy the next chapter of my life.”