A MUCH-LOVED teacher who has never missed classes due to sickness is retiring after dedicating his career to one school.
Year 5 teacher Steve Bayliss is retiring after 27 years of inspiring youngsters at Meon Junior School in Milton.
Youngsters know him as a funny, exciting, and cheerful teacher who always makes learning fun.
And the 60-year-old has won the admiration of his colleagues for his dedication – and his costumes on World Book Day each year.
Speaking to The News ahead of a special assembly to mark his retirement, Mr Bayliss said: ‘I have mixed emotions about retiring.
‘The children have always been delightful and I have enjoyed working with all the staff.
‘What I will definitely miss most is working with the children and the hustle and bustle of school life.
‘I have reached 60 and feel now is the right time to move on.’
Mr Bayliss had planned to retire earlier in the school year but was persuaded to stay on.
His class of Year 5 pupils had nothing but good things to say about him.
Year 5 pupil Maggie Frazer, 10, said: ‘He’s such a kind and inspirational person who will always help people if they have a problem.’
Classmate, Dylan Baker-Newman, also 10, added: ‘Mr Bayliss is such a fun and exciting teacher who never gives up on his students no matter what.’
Many of his pupils spoke of Mr Bayliss’s sense of humour and ability to make learning fun.
Amaara Gani, aged 10, said: ‘He’s such an exciting teacher who makes all his lessons fun and interesting.’
Class mate Lowe Paddon added: ‘Mr Bayliss is funny and always has a smile on his face. If someone is sad he will always cheer them up.’
The popular teacher said the the thing he will miss most is working day to day with the children.
Headteacher Sara Paine had persuaded Mr Bayliss to stay on in the classroom – but he is now retiring.
Mrs Paine said: ‘Steve is Meon Junior School.
‘He has never had a single day off even though there have been times when he was unwell.
‘He is empowering for the children as he makes them believe in themselves and helps to unlock their potential both academically and socially.
‘I will personally miss Steve greatly as he has been so supportive during my time as headteacher.’
Two of the things Steve will be most fondly remembered for is leading students on outdoor activity trips and dressing in a wide array of costumes during annual World Book Day.
‘I now have Willy Wonka, Batman, Roman soldier and Polar Express Conductor costumes – to name just a few,’ he said.
The school dedicated an afternoon assembly to Mr Bayliss with children reciting poems and songs about their ‘favourite teacher’.
However, while he may be leaving the classroom for the last time he is not closing the door for good on his time at the school.
Mrs Paine said: ‘Steve has already agreed to go along as a volunteer on the school’s next residential trip and to become a school governor.’
Steve plans to use his retirement to spend more time playing the drums in his band.