Sheringham Primary pupils say farewell to much-loved teacher with a celebration cake and a self-penned song
- Credit: Archant
'Fantastic' pupils, supportive parents and a strong sense of camaraderie among staff are key to a successful school according to teacher Jon Pigney, who retired at the end of the summer term after 29 years at Sheringham Primary.
Pupils gave a surprise performance of a self-penned song praising Mr Pigney's sunny personality, great sense of humour and 'smiley face' at an awards presentation and Year 6 leavers assembly held on the last day of term.
The medley-style song was set to the tune of some of Mr Pigney's favourite hits – including My Girl, by The Temptations and The Beatles' Love Me Do and Yellow Submarine.
'The whole school had been rehearsing it in secret and I knew nothing about it, so it was a wonderful surprise,' Mr Pigney said.
The Norwich-born dad-of-three, who lives at Wells-next-the-Sea with his fellow teacher wife Lynn and youngest daughter Harriet, was also presented with a celebration cake, dozens of cards and presents and a book featuring pictures and messages from each of the school's 600 pupils.
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Mr Pigney shared memories of his first years at Sheringham when, instead of being surrounded by houses, the school was set in the middle of fields.
'The school only had about 400 pupils then,' he said. 'But I think the biggest change over the years has been the introduction of Ofsted and the National Curriculum.
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'So much of education now is data-driven and, in a way, that has taken some of the spontaneity out of teaching, which is a shame.'
Career highlights included skiing and camping trips, with Mr Pigney listing amongst his funniest moments a sunny sports day in the late 1980s.
'There were hundreds of parents cheering their children on when the sprinkler system unexpectedly came on and soaked everyone,' he remembered.
'I had to dash off and find the caretaker so he could switch it off - it was hilarious.'
He said that, in retirement, he was looking forward to spending more time with his family and indulging his passion for sailing.
'It will be nice not to have the marking, the planning and that huge workload,' he added. 'But I will of course miss the wonderful children at Sheringham, as well as the amazing parents and the incredible, talented staff.'