Angela Barnfather

23rd May 2003 at 01:00
Angela Barnfather is deputy head of St Saviour's C of E infant and nursery school in the London borough of Ealing.

After 30 years teaching at the school where she herself was a pupil, Angela Barnfather will retire "on a high" at the end of the summer term. Aged 58, she still has bags of energy and enthusiasm, and has chosen to leave "when it's still so positive, with lots of exciting things happening".

Born and raised in Ealing - "a lovely, leafy borough and we're in the middle of it" - she worked first as a librarian. Then she trained to be an infant teacher at Whitelands in south London, now part of the University of Roehampton, returning to St Saviour's as a newly qualified member of staff.

Commitment to class teaching is still her raison d'etre. As well as being deputy head with responsibility for religious education and assemblies, she takes a Year 1 class in this large (350 under-sevens on roll) and popular church school. "It really, really matters to me that we put the children first. I feel privileged to have spent 30 years in teaching - it has been a wonderful experience. I will miss the children, and the atmosphere here."

Norma Sills who nominated Angela for our flowers, champagne and chocolates, has been head for seven years and says she spotted Angela's wealth of experience - "and the potential for a partnership" - as soon as they met.

She explains: "I might have an idea, or an inspiration. Angela will listen and be encouraging and positive. Then she'll ask how we're going to get there and so we begin to work it out."

This practical, loving teacher gives children a clear sense of security and what is expected of them. St Saviour's will be saying a big thank you come July.

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