A PERSONAL assistant for five generations of headteachers has celebrated her 30th anniversary of working at Farnham Heath End School – making her the school’s longest-serving staff member.
Linda Mitchell started work at Heath End on June 5, 1989, after spotting the job advertised in the Herald. At the time, the job suited her as her young son was in reception at neighbouring Weybourne Infant School, which has since merged to become William Cobbett Primary School.
Linda’s original plan was to stay until her son finished primary but that went out of the window: he’s 35 now! During her 30 years at Heath End, Linda has worked for five headteachers: Margaret Widdows (1989-94), Tessa Atton (1994-95), David Hoggins (1995-2010), Nick Phillips (2010-2017) and Stuart Maginnis (2018 to present).
Linda cites her favourite part of the job as meeting new staff and students, and she added that many of the newer members of staff weren’t even born when she joined!
The most challenging aspect of the job, she said, was recruiting new staff as, nationally, fewer people are choosing to train to teach.
Linda said: “There is no such thing as a typical day in this job. The great thing about it is the variety. There is never a dull moment working in a school. There is always plenty to do and all staff are constantly busy making sure everything goes smoothly so the students achieve well. Indeed, our students are a credit to the school.
“It is everything you want from a job, to be honest. The people I have worked with over the years have been amazing. There is no time for boredom to set in. There is a great team of dedicated staff who are a pleasure to work with.
“It’s an exciting time to be working at FHES with our new build taking place which will provide superb new facilities for our students. I really enjoy working here: it is an amazing school with fantastic students and staff. I am looking forward to the school achieving what it rightly deserves: ‘outstanding’.”
Principal Stuart Maginnis said: “Linda has made me feel really welcome from day one. There is nothing she doesn’t know about this school.
“She genuinely cares so much about our school community and has contributed so much over the past 30 years.”