Bedlington teaching assistant retires after nearly four decades in the job

A popular teaching assistant who joined St Bede’s Catholic Primary School in Bedlington when she was just 18 is leaving after nearly four decades.

By Joshua Wright
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 3:29 pm

Heather Ord joined the school, which is a member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust, in 1983. She has been there ever since – an impressive 39 years – making her the school’s longest-serving member of staff.

Mrs Ord spent time in both year one and reception classes, as well as the nursery, during her almost long career at the school.

Having worked there for such a long period of time, she has seen two generations come and go through their doors, and witnessed the expansion of the school as a whole.

Heather Ord and right, when she started out as a teaching assistant nearly 40 years ago.

Just eight or nine staff members worked at the Catholic school when she first joined, all residing in what she described as a ‘tiny’ staff room.

Mrs Ord said: “I was their youngest member of staff when I joined, and now I’m the oldest.

"It’s been my first and only job, and is all I’ve known.

"My dad said I’d never get the job when I applied, as I wasn’t Catholic, but I was the first non-Catholic person they employed, and I’ve been there ever since.

“The first children I taught are in their forties now, and I’ve seen their children go through the school too.

“I get to know the children when they first start in nursery, so I see them for the longest.

"You almost become part of the family, you get to know them all so well."

With such a long career at the school, Mrs Ord’s retirement did not go unnoticed and she received many different gifts from her colleagues.

School head teacher Therese Worrall said: “Mrs Ord received various gifts from the many people who she impacted throughout her time at St Bede’s.

“From the school staff she received a charm to add to a bracelet she was given when she had 25 years’ service, and also a voucher to visit Kew Gardens, as this has always been her dream."

To mark her retirement, Mrs Ord now plans to take an ‘out-of-term’ holiday, having always had to adhere to the school calendar.

For more information about St Bede’s Catholic Primary School, visit