Waterlooville headteacher retires after a career devoted to children with special needs

A HEADTEACHER who has dedicated her entire career to children with special educational needs is retiring from the profession.

Saturday, 6th April 2019, 3:53 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th April 2019, 4:07 pm
Jackie Sumner with Shannon Marten, 20, and Danielle Rapson, 13
Picture: Sarah Standing (050419-5546)
Jackie Sumner with Shannon Marten, 20, and Danielle Rapson, 13 Picture: Sarah Standing (050419-5546)

Headteacher, Jackie Sumner, 59, is leaving Rachel Madocks School in Waterlooville after 12 years of dedicated service there. 

Jackie said: ‘I have had a fantastic time in teaching. What I am going to miss most is the children – they are all wonderful – and also my brilliant staff. Although as headteacher I don’t do as much teaching as I used to, I still love going into classrooms and seeing children develop to be the best they can be.’

Jackie has always taught children with special educational needs and disabilities, starting her career in Bedfordshire before moving to Hampshire where she taught in both Alton and Southampton.

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Jackie Sumner Picture: Sarah Standing (050419-4837)

She was appointed head teacher at Rachel Madocks School in September 2007. Categorised as catering for children with ‘severe learning difficulties’, Jackie describes the needs of pupils as ‘multiple and profound’.

‘I just find it very rewarding watching children with learning difficulties fulfil their potential,’ she said. ‘We work with much smaller numbers than mainstream and so you really feel you get to know each individual and their families.’ 

Jackie has enjoyed a week of Easter activities which has allowed her to return to the classroom and spend time working with every child. The week culminated with a coffee morning which saw more than 30 parents and a number of former pupils in attendance to thank Jackie for her support and guidance.

‘It was great to see former students and they are all doing really well in college and university,’ said Jackie.  

During her headship, Jackie has overseen school numbers increase from 77 to 93 and campaigned for additional funding which led to the complete refurbishment of the school’s learning environment.

Judith Wilkins, who has worked at the school for 22 years, said: ‘Obviously we are extremely sad to see Jackie go. She is much loved by all the students and parents and the school has made real progress during her headship. She has really championed the needs of the children to ensure they benefit from the best provision of education possible. The number of parents and former pupils who attended today is testament to the high regard in which she is held.’

While Jackie will miss the  heartwarming pleasure of seeing children achieve their potential, after 30 years in the profession she is also looking forward to a well earned retirement.

‘I am looking forward to spending more time in my garden and also with my family. I am looking forward to doing some reading – I have a pile of books which I just haven’t had the chance to read,’ she said.

Judith added: ‘We wish Jackie all the best for her future journey through life.’