The Ambler

Amble's Community Newspaper: News & events from Amble in Northumberland – The Kindliest Port.

Saying goodbye to a much loved Headteacher

Headteacher Joyce Jenkins is leaving Amble First School

After thirteen years as Headteacher at Amble First School, Mrs Joyce Jenkins will be retiring this summer.

Working with a well-established team of staff, the school has seen many changes over these years – the opening of a kitchen to cook school meals on site; the development of the playground area to provide a whole range of outdoor activities and challenges; the introduction of Breakfast Club; partnerships with schools in Nairobi, Kenya; developing the capacity for Beach School activities, with many staff now qualified as Beach School practitioners; the publication of a book “All About Amble”; the opening of Edwin Street Nursery and extension of the teaching facilities for older children with new classrooms – as well as gaining a whole range of awards including Healthy School, Basic Skills, Artsmark Gold and the International School Award.

“My time at Edwin Street has given me some of the most interesting, challenging, exciting and rewarding years of my entire career”, said Mrs Jenkins.

“Working in Amble has been a joy, especially collaborating with a range of community groups and seeing how beautifully the town has developed over recent years.

“I have loved it all, I will miss it hugely and I thank everyone – pupils, parents, staff, governors, community members and friends for making it such a wonderful time….though I am looking forward to not getting up early and having the chance to take some holidays in term time!”

An outstanding Head

Simon Baxter, chair of governors told The Ambler: “I speak on behalf of the children, parents, staff and governors when I say that Joyce has been an outstanding Headteacher of Amble First School over the last … quite some years… and will be greatly missed by all. Joyce is a very warm, friendly and compassionate person who is admired and trusted by all who meet her; an ideal recipe for a Head Teacher.

“Throughout her time at AFS Joyce led from the front with a constant stream of new ideas for teaching our children new skills and nurturing their enthusiasm to learn. The establishment of the nursery was developed and driven by Joyce and has been a great success. Joyce and the school staff even painted the nursery during the summer holidays to ensure it was ready for the first day of the new term.

“Joyce has fostered not only a fantastic environment of learning in the classroom but one utilising the outdoors and Amble’s many attractions from the beaches, the Braid, walks to Warkworth, painting and bird-watching on the Coquet estuary, church visits to involvement in the Puffin Festival. Staff even undertook beach training enabling them to take the children to Amble’s beaches during beach days which now culminates in the annual Beach Week.

“Maximising the available outdoor space a gardening area complete with chickens, a soft play sports pitch and a quiet area have all been provided for the children to use at break times.

Joyce Jenkins surrounded by Amble First School (Edwin Street) children

“A partnership with Ndurarua Primary School, Nairobi, Kenya was developed where during a half-term visit Joyce was invited to plant trees in the Olympic Forest and among other things taught a class of 55 children!

“Numerous visits around the county have been undertaken at the Glendale Show, Bolam Lake and Ingram Valley which was a particular favourite of Joyce. Residential visits to Ford Castle and Dukes’ House Wood and day trips to the Hancock Museum were also enjoyed by all who attended. There has even been time to watch the Tour of Britain cycling and the royal visit by the Countess of Wessex.

“This is only a snapshot of what Joyce has done for Amble First School and we all truly thank her for all her endeavours over the ….last quite some years and wish her a long and happy retirement.

“Finally, who can forget the discovery of a skull during the drainage repairs which had the children utterly amazed for days. As part of the school heritage and local folklore, Joyce being the one person who knows the identity of who it belongs to will now only tell the new Headteacher!

The new Headteacher, Mrs Helen Bruce, will take over the reins at Edwin Street in September. Helen is currently Deputy Headteacher at St Aidan’s First School in Ashington.

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