“Loyal, caring and inspiring” Janet retires after 32 years at Histon & Impington Junior School
A teacher who has given over 30 years “dedication and commitment” to Histon & Impington Junior School has left the classroom for the last time.
Janet Jenkins, who first walked through the school doors as a supply teacher in November 1988 before landing a full-time role, has retired at the age of 65 having served as Assistant Headteacher, Head of Year 6 and SENDCo lead. A Histon resident herself, Janet’s children both attended Histon & Impington Juniors, and she even taught her eldest daughter in Year 5. The school, which from September will be called Histon & Impington Brook Primary, is a place she poignantly refers to as “my second home”.
“I’ve absolutely loved working with everyone,” Janet said. “My colleagues have been amazing and the children have always been really charming to work with. The school has only had four Headteachers since the school was opened in the 1970s, and I’ve been at other schools where there hasn’t been that stability and leadership. I’ve always been looked after and seen the school as a safe haven. I can still recall my first day and feeling grateful for the opportunity as I didn’t get a job in teaching straight after leaving college. I’ve always been really happy. I have been asked to go to other schools, but loyalty and the challenge here meant I stayed.”
Originally from Lincoln, Janet trained to be a teacher at the College of Ripon and York St John, but unable to land a job in Nottingham (where she moved to after graduation) she took up a role at Boots Head Office and stayed for five years. When Janet’s second daughter was born the family moved to Cambridge and she became a stay-at-home Mum for eight years. She later began working as a supply teacher across several schools in Cambridge, before being asked to join Histon & Impington Junior School full-time by then Headteacher Derek Anderson.
“As well as being a class teacher my subject responsibility was at first PE and, later on, I was asked to take on a SENDCo role alongside my teaching responsibilities,” Janet recalled. “When I first started a lot of children with special educational needs would go to a special school and I only worked for half a day a fortnight as SENDCo. Today, most children with special educational needs are catered for in mainstream education and there is a lot more training and support. We have Teaching Assistants (there were no TAs 30 years ago) to help the children, I line managed at least 20 TAs at Histon & Impington Junior School. For the last ten years, I was also the SENDCo for Hatton Park Primary school which I really enjoyed, especially as it was a primary school, so I got to know the children when they came into their Reception classes. I provided special educational needs school-to-school support for Somersham Primary School, also part of Cambridge Primary Education Trust, and other schools in the area. There is much more professionalism in the SENDCo role these days and across the sector we’re trying to find a consistent and effective way of doing things.”
As Assistant Headteacher and Head of Year 6, Janet admitted that teaching is a different profession to the one she joined. “When I started teaching, I used to help run Cubs and Guides and make my own and friends and family’s curtains, as well as looking after my young family and I’m not sure how I found time for it all,” she said. “Today, accountability has changed: it’s a lovely job, but it’s now a full-on job. Talking to each other and working as a team has been so important. For teachers joining the profession, my advice is to get to know your children really well, in and out of the classroom, ensure there is a good transition between their last teacher and yourself and communicate with parents. Seek help because you should never be on your own – discuss your priorities with your mentor. The support I’ve had from the school, and the Trust, over the years has been huge.”
Speaking about her retirement, Janet has now identified some priorities: “I’m looking forward to spending time with family and friends. I have eight grandchildren, including two in Australia. I’m also looking forward to taking some holidays as soon as we can. I was so lucky to be able to enjoy visiting the Galapagos Islands, one of my lifetime dreams, South America, the Seychelles and Australia and am keen to explore the rest of the world and also revisit the many lovely parts of the UK.”
Lesley Birch, Executive Principal/CEO of Cambridge Primary Education Trust, said: “As a colleague, Janet has been loyal, caring and inspiring. In her roles as Assistant Headteacher, Head of Year 6 and SENDCo lead, Janet has been very much at the centre of teaching and learning in our Trust, and she worked with children, staff and families showing tremendous dedication and commitment. Every child mattered to her and she aimed to overcome barriers for all children to enable them to flourish. We’ll miss Janet greatly, but will continue to value her friendship and wish her well in retirement.”