A HEADTEACHER is enjoying her final week at school after a 26-year career.

Bernie Barnes of Sacred Heart Catholic Primary and Nursery School penned an emotional farewell letter addressed to parents and reminisced on the times gone by.

She attended the school as a child before returning years later as a parent helper before working her way to the top.

The letter read: "I just want to try and tell you how difficult leaving this amazing school is. As a four-year child I started my educational journey at Sacred Heart. My dad was a teacher here. I had family of my own and they all came here - I wouldn't have dreamt of sending them anywhere else.

"I started as a parent helper when my oldest son started school. Then got a job as a 1:1 TA but left to have more children. I then got asked to return when my youngest was four months old. The 'infant help' as they were called then told me she had been at the school 26 years and I remember thinking - 'I won't be there that long'.

"I was wrong, I have been here 26 years - TA, teacher, deputy head and headteacher. I have loved each and every role and it has been an absolute joy and privilege serving so many amazing children and families over the years.

"Sacred Heart School really is a very unique, happy and wonderful place."

Mrs Barnes stressed the reason she had made the decision to leave was that she wanted the 'very best' for the school.

She said: "It is very important to me that you understand my reason for leaving is only because I can't look after my husband and do my best for the school.

"Sacred Heart School is my life and my family and I would always want the very best for it - so I am going because that is what is best.

"However, the children, families and staff will always be a huge part of my life and hopefully I will always be able to be involved in some way."

Simone Beach will now take on the role of headteacher, who will be assisted by new deputy headteacher Jeni Marshall.