The innocence and fun of her young charges has made Jackie Mitchell’s job a joy.
And it is watching them blossom from shy young tots into confident and chatty children that has been the best part of her role as headteacher at Nelson’s Bradley Nursery School.
Mrs Mitchell (57) who is retiring from the post after 14 years said: “I have loved every minute at this wonderful school. It is very much part of the community with children I taught when I first started now bringing their own children here.”
After qualifying, Mrs Mitchell spent 10 years as a teacher at the school before taking on the role of headteacher at Burnley’s former Rosehill Nursery School for six years. She then returned as head at Bradley Nursery School so her career there spans 24 years.
Mrs Mitchell said: “The job has changed so much over the years from just teaching to now being a manager with control of a budget making decisions about what areas money should be spent in.
“We also now have to draw up and analyse data and there was nothing like that when I first started.”
Teaching runs in the family as both Mrs Mitchell’s mum and grandfather were in the profession and her daughter has followed in her footsteps.
She said: “My grandfather was the head at St Mary Magdalene’s School in Burnley and I have vivid memories being aged around seven and drawing a picture of me grown up as a teacher.”
It is a testament to Mrs Mitchell’s talent and hard work that the nursery has been rated as outstanding by OFSTED inspectors for the fourth year running.
“It is a wonderful profession but teachers hard work with long hours with a lot of extra time put in that people do not see,” said Mrs Mitchell. “You have to be dedicated to what you are doing but the rewards are enormous and well worth all the effort.”
Married with a son and daughter, Mrs Mitchell is looking forward to travelling and a cruise is top of her list after she has finished helping her daughter plan her wedding.