RATHER than retiring after 19 years, it will be 'see you next term' for a teaching assistant at Rogate Primary School who has only sort of hung up her hat this summer.

Penny Croucher, 59, from Thorne Close, Petersfield, was first a parent helper at the village school when her two children were pupils there before taking on the role of full-time teaching assistant in 1994.

For the past two years she has also been cooking the toast and bagels and overseeing the 17 or so children who belong to the school's breakfast club.

Now taking early retirement to enjoy travelling with her husband, Mrs Croucher looked back over her happy years at the village school.

"While we have still got our health we want to travel and enjoy ourselves," said Mrs Croucher, who plans to holiday in India later this year.

"The job has changed over the years, I worked with classes in the morning helping with maths and English and spending one-to-one time with special-needs children during the afternoons."

But Mrs Croucher, who has also looked after the school library, said she would miss Rogate Primary School.

"It is such a small family-run school, we all get on so well, we are a team, and it is like having one large family."

With daughter Philippa, 27 and son Jamie, now 26, long gone are the days of their young days at the school.

But it isn't entirely a case of goodbye for Mrs Croucher as she will be back at Rogate Primary School one morning per week as a volunteer to help out with the administration.

And said Mrs Croucher with a smile: "I've also been booked up to go on a school trip.

"I'll be back!"