Alnwick headteacher receives blessing from the Pope on her retirement

An Alnwick headteacher has had the rare honour of receiving a Papal Blessing in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Catholic education.

Friday, 2nd August 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 2nd August 2019, 7:05 am
Year 6 pupils who have left St Paul's Primary School in Alnwick.
Year 6 pupils who have left St Paul's Primary School in Alnwick.

Maria Wilson retired as head of St Paul’s RCVA Primary School at the end of the summer term.

A liturgy was held for all leavers on the last day of term and Fr Keyes presented Mrs Wilson with the Papal blessing.

It stated: ‘His Holiness FRANCIS lovingly imparts his Apostolic Blessing to Maria Wilson on the occasion of retirement after 35 years of service to Catholic Education.’

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Maria Wilson, retiring headteacher at St Paul's RCVA Primary School in Alnwick.

In her final letter to parents and governors, Mrs Wilson wrote: ‘I have taught in Catholic Education at St Paul’s, previously known as St John’s school for 35 memorable years and have had the responsibility and honour to be headteacher since 2008.

‘I have seen huge changes to the school since beginning my of my career in 1984; then only 69 pupils were on roll and there were two teachers working with the headteacher: We now have 230 children from two years to 11 years of age and offer wrap around care from 8am to 5.30pm.’

She continued: ‘I have known many of our school community since the beginning of my career. It has been a joy to see the generations of children successfully passing through the school and we have also welcomed many new families to our community.

‘Together with governors, we have faced some huge strategic challenges over the years that have required resilience and drive to see changes completed and to better the opportunities and provision for our children.

Year 6 leavers at St Paul's RCVA Primary School.

‘Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working with many dedicated, talented people including headteachers, teachers, teaching assistants, support staff and professionals from other agencies.

‘I thank them all, particularly current staff, who have shown nothing but great dedication and professionalism; helping maintain with pride, the great reputation our school currently enjoys.’

From September, Mrs Eileen Lomax takes over as headteacher.

Mrs Wilson said: “I am sure that with her experience of leading a larger, well established primary school, she will bring new ideas and systems to take St Paul’s forward.”