School’s out for summer, school’s out forever

Andrew Lifford

I wonder what it feels like leaving the classroom after 30 years?

I only managed two and a half years as an English teacher on the TeachFirst programme before deciding to move to The Key, but my mum, Margaret Lifford, has taught in primary and secondary education for over 30 years.

She left the classroom last week, along with many others nationwide, to start her much deserved retirement. She has been a teacher for 24 years at St Peter’s Church of England Primary School, an ‘outstanding’ school in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside.

She is a local celebrity in our town, and people come up to say hello and have a good chat in the supermarket or at the Dragon and Phoenix!

My mum at her leaving service at St Peter's Church.

My mum at her leaving service at St Peter’s Church, Newton-le-Willows.

The children also love her. At her leaving service in church last week, she received a letter of thanks from every child at the school. Highlights range from the enthusiastic:

 “My favourite thing is when you put magic writing dust on us, it really does work!”

To simply:

“I love you Mrs Lifford.”

She will definitely be missed by children and has had a huge impact on the school community over the years.

I wanted to share what she has learned in her career.

What attracted you into teaching?

I always enjoyed working with children. Our family comes from a background of teaching and working with young people. I wanted to give back to the local community and pass on my passion of the arts and reading. There is nothing better than being a teacher and having a direct impact on shaping children’s lives.

How do you think education has changed over the years?

I have seen lots of different initiatives come and go with various governments. Assessment for learning, discussion partners, mindmaps, and the scrapping of levels … there always seems to be a new trend with a new terminology to match. Much of the time it is still the same strategy but with a different name to it.

What tips do you have for new teachers going into the profession?

I would suggest asking for help and support when you need it. Teaching is a craft, it takes years to master and very few people pick it up straight away. Expect to make mistakes during your first year and try and learn from them. Remember to give encouragement and care to all children in your class and try to be as consistent as possible.

What will you miss about being in the classroom?

The interactions with children and staff will be missed, as well as those magic moments of learning where everything just clicks right.

What things will you not miss?

I will not miss getting into school at 7am in the morning to prepare for the day ahead.

What are you most looking forward to?

I’m excited about spending time with my grandson and not having to mark books late in the evening! I’m also looking forward to having more “me” time and living life to the full.


Members of our school leader service can log in and find an article on how the Teachers’ Pension Scheme has changed since April 2015. Another one of our articles looks at the topic of returning to teaching after retirement.

Comments 1

  1. splozza11 28th July 2015

    Reblogged this on splozza11 and commented:
    A lovely article! Best wishes on your well-deserved retirement Mrs Lifford!

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