Inspirational headteacher says farewell after 33 years

Ethna Cummins is retiring from the role of headteacher at Whitefield Infant and Nursary School in Nelson after 33 years. (S)

Ethna Cummins is retiring from the role of headteacher at Whitefield Infant and Nursary School in Nelson after 33 years. (S)

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The headteacher of an outstanding rated Nelson school is retiring tomorrow after 33 years.

An emotional Ethna Cummins said her three decades at the school had been “amazing” and one of the many highlights had been seeing Whitefield Infant School and Nursery rated as outstanding by Ofsted.

Mrs Cummins really is an amazing headteacher, leader and community friend who has had such an impact on the lives of so many people

Deputy

Mrs Cummins, who joined as headteacher in 1983 after 10 years in schools in the Manchester area, said one of the most significant and more challenging things had been moving to the new building in 2014.

Reflecting on 33 years, she said: “I’ve always cherished the warm relationship myself and the staff have with parents, families and the community. The partnership has grown out of respect, trust, openness and the welcoming ethos at Whitefield.

“It is strengthened by parents sharing our same aspirations for our children.

“The children have always made me proud in making Whitefield a flagship school of excellence in behaviour, learning, progress, attainment and their all round achievements. They are a great credit to their parents and families.

“I have so many happy memories of the children having fun learning and filling the school with their enthusiasm and smiles.

“I will miss Whitefield so much as it is my life.

“Initially there will be a huge gap but I hope to fill it with holidays with my family, Richard my husband and Richard and Cathy my children, catching up with friends and family and some gentle walking and voluntary work. But for now I think a few weeks rest is long overdue!”

Erica Mason, who has shared the role of headteacher with Mrs Cummins for the last three years, will take over as full time head. Paying tribute to Mrs Cummins, she said: “Mrs Cummins really is an amazing headteacher, leader and community friend who has had such an impact on the lives of so many people.

“She has a passion, drive and determination for every single child to succeed.

“Mrs Cummins is always on the pursuit of excellence – nothing less will do because she believes the children deserve nothing less than the best.

“She has always been a strong advocate of using a creative curriculum which has resulted in the highest of standards in teaching and learning and provided children with rich opportunities.

“She has not only supported generations of children, but also their parents. Her contribution to the local community has truly transformed educational expectations.

“Many of the children that have attended the school have now progressed into vocations; many being doctors, solicitors, barristers, teachers, to name but a few.

“She is highly-respected by all and her high standards are known across Lancashire.”