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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Laycie Beck

Bulwell headteacher set to retire after more than 40 years in teaching

A Nottingham headteacher is set to retire after more than 40 years in teaching. Schoolchildren and teachers at Springfield Academy, Bulwell, thanked headteacher Jane-Belinda Francis for all her years of service as she prepares to retire at the end of term after leading the school for 16 years.

Mrs Francis said: “I really won’t find leaving Springfield easy as I absolutely love our school, but I know that it’s time and I am leaving Springfield in wonderful hands. We have built a school which the whole community is proud of with a good Ofsted report, good SATs results and waiting lists for six out of eight classes.

"The children are amazing and love coming to school. The staff are so committed to their work and ensuring the best for the children in their care."

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She continued: "I would like to thank all of the children, parents and carers, and staff for making my time at Springfield the best of my teaching career.” Mrs Francis was appointed headteacher of the school in 2006, and before that she was the headteacher at another Nottingham school.

Springfield Academy, in Lawton Driver, which is part of the Djanogly Learning Trust, was graded ‘good’ in its Ofsted inspection last year. Mrs Francis’s most positive memories include seeing the whole school being able to sing and dance outdoors when Covid-19 restrictions were eased to allow gatherings outside.

She said: "Staff and children were crying with the joy that the ‘normality’ of being together and singing brought." She added that the annual ‘elves’ breakfast and other festive season celebrations had also been a highlight.

Mrs Francis also shared how she loved to see the progress of her former pupils. Explaining: "An ex pupil returned one year and attended our graduation event.

"I went to speak to him and asked him how he was doing. He told me he was going to university and was planning to become an accountant. I expressed how pleased I was for him. He replied: ‘But Miss, you told me I could be anything I wanted to be.’ I couldn’t ask for more than that could I?”

During her retirement Mrs Francis is planning to travel to North America to visit her grown up children, both of which play ice hockey for teams in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. She added: “I am looking forward to my retirement, but I know I will really miss the conversations I have with children on a daily basis, which are absolutely priceless.

“I am happy though that I know I have created a school where children can thrive, feel loved, safe and valued and can aspire to be what they want to be.” Liz Anderson, chief executive officer at the Djanogly Learning Trust, said: “Jane-Belinda is highly respected in the local Bulwell community and beyond.

"She will be sorely missed, however she leaves the school in a strong position and that is a legacy she should be very proud of. On behalf of everyone at Djanogly Learning Trust, I would like to thank Jane- Belinda for her hard work, dedication and long years of service.

"We wish her all the very best for her retirement." The current Deputy Headteacher, Vonny Shelley, will become the new Headteacher of Springfield Academy from January 2023.

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