AS schools settle down to another academic year, things will be very different for one long-serving Melton teacher.
Sue Bailey, who began her career as a PE teacher at Sarson High School in 1973, has decided to hand back her laptop and notebook.
In those early days, before teacher days (or Baker days as they were called), Sarson staff would get their timetables the day before term started. So this year was the first time for almost 40 years that Sue was able to fully enjoy an August Bank Holiday Monday having no preparation or planning to spoil it.
In 1979 Sue took time off to start a family and, when her children were small, she began her long association with Long Field in 1986 working part-time in the PE department. She made an instant impression with the head of department and more work followed until Sue gradually became full-time by taking on SEN additional teaching hours.
She was eventually appointed head of special educational needs, subsequently SENCO, at which point her responsibilities and workload increased tenfold through various bits of legislation. Sue committed herself wholeheartedly and passionately to this role, never more so than when defending the cause of vulnerable, often challenging, children.
With the complete support and faith in her ability and vision of the then headteacher, Linda Moore, Sue built up a much respected and effective department. Her success at inclusion in some ways became a problem as parents opted to send their children to Long Field, stretching resources. But her Learning Support groups offered differentiation, success and the support these children needed in order to cope in mainstream classes.
Her staff valued Sue’s true professionalism, compassion and fairness. They admired her stamina, her forthrightness and her work rate – as did SEN partners countywide. Sue put SEN at Long Field on the map.
At the heart of Sue’s philosophy of education was a belief in the worth of every individual child and therefore she was well suited to take on the additional role in 1996 of Head of Year 7. She rose to this new challenge with boundless energy and enthusiasm, giving each intake the best possible start to their secondary careers. She supported her team of tutors, guiding and nurturing them – even the reluctant ones! Sue subsequently became a reliable and trustworthy member of the senior management team.
Sue was also a stalwart of the Long Field Association, ever present at events and recognising the importance of the relationship between school and parents. There were LFA trips to Germany, socials, Beaujolais evenings and summer fayres where she would be regularly found frying over the barbecue. The monthly student discos were an excellent money-raiser and Sue was always there.
Sue has organised and accompanied countless school trips and residentials in the UK, to France and India and has turned up on cold wet Saturdays for school cross-country events. She was even the girls’ county team manager for a number of years.If anything needed doing Sue would volunteer, clearing snow so the school could stay safe and even helping to build the minibus garage!
You would have to sum up Mrs Bailey as conscientious, scrupulously fair, highly professional, a natural teacher and keen advocate for SEN. Sue will be hard to replace on so many levels and she can be proud of her achievements at Long Field. She has influenced the lives of so many in a positive way and made a real difference.
Sue remains fully trained up and connected to the world of education, but she will be looking forward to spending more time with her two grandchildren and being able to enjoy holidays during school time!