A PRINCIPAL has labelled two long-serving teachers the “heart of the academy,” as they celebrate their 80th combined year at school.
Val Bell and Janet Smith both started as newly-qualified teachers in 1972 at Shotton Hall, in Passfield Way, Peterlee.
And after 40 years in education each, their desire has not faded and they are back for another term.
Principal Lesley Powell knows how important the pair have been over the years in helping to shape the lives of hundreds of children.
She said: “In their years at the school, their joy at working with children has never faded.
“Not only do they know each and every child currently at the academy, but they have taught some of their parents and even some of our teachers.
“They have made an enormous difference to the school by creating a supportive environment where children feel safe, happy and ready to learn.
“Students trust and confide in Val and Janet, who help themselves to believe in themselves and accomplish their goals.”
Ms Bell, who is now head of pastoral care at the academy, began her career at 21 when she was a French teacher.
She then moved into the role of head of girls’ upper in 1984.
Ms Smith taught across different departments before settling into an English-teaching role, where she has stayed for the majority of her time there.