A nursery school and children’s centre has said a fond farewell to its headteacher.
Valerie Ellar has retired from The Lawns Nursery School and Children’s Centre in Biggleswade after working there since 1975.
The Lawns is one of the oldest nursery schools in Bedfordshire. First built during the Second World War, it became a school in 1947.
It was sited in the grounds of a house called The Lawns and took its name. Its location meant the children could enjoy a beautiful garden with many listed trees, providing a living learning environment for generations of children in Biggleswade.
At the end of the 90s the school’s governing body went to a conference to find out how nursery schools were extending the services offered to the whole family to become a ‘one stop shop’.
A bid to the Department of Education’s New Deal Funding was successful, and plans began for the county’s first nursery centre.
Mrs Ellar became deputy head when The Lawns changed over to a nursery centre in 2001. And by 2002 it had already achieved great success, being designated Early Excellence Centre status.
Then, in 2003, it was designated as a children’s centre, opening its doors in 2004.
In 2010 Mrs Ellar took over as headteacher, after the retirement of Karen Navesey.
Mrs Ellar said: “I have always understood the vital importance of early years education. It lays the foundation of all future learning.
“It has been wonderful to see this developing and a privilege to have worked with so many families over the years. Many of the children have returned with their own families.”
She added: “The Lawns is the children’s centre for the whole of Biggleswade and the staff are very committed to supporting all the early years settings in the town.
“The community of schools in Biggleswade works very closely together to ensure there is a smooth learning journey for the children as their education progresses. I wish everyone well as they continue to develop education within the town.”