Sunderland PE teacher retires after 40 years at school

Len Wallace is retiring after 42 years as a teacher at Sandhill View school, his son Paul Wallace works at the school as a PE teacher.
Len Wallace is retiring after 42 years as a teacher at Sandhill View school, his son Paul Wallace works at the school as a PE teacher.
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AFTER eight headteachers and eight Ofsted inspections a Sunderland teacher is finally saying farewell to his schooldays.

The Sandhill View School bell will chime for Len Wallace for the last time at the end of term when he retires after 42 years.

Len, who hails from Jarrow, first moved to Wearside to do his teacher training, graduating in 1970, and after a one-year stint at Red House School he joined the team at the then Thorney Close school as a PE teacher.

When the school amalgamated with Broadway School in the late 80s to become Sandhill View, Len remained and has been there ever since, working in a number of different roles, currently organising the timetables and exams.

The 65-year-old said: “I knew I wanted to be a teacher from the age of about 13 and it’s something I have never regretted.

“I enjoyed the 70s and 80s a lot, but the equipment we have now in schools is fantastic compared to what it was in those days.

“People talk about kids being bad, but I have never had a problem with discipline, but then again maybe the kids enjoy doing PE.”

Len, says after all these years working at the Grindon Lane school, he must know almost every family in Thorney Close, and is now teaching the grandchildren of some of his early pupils.

And, he regularly enjoys a pint with old students, one who is himself 55, and some of his former pupils now work at the school.

Although staff and pupils at Sandhill will be missing Len, they will still have Mr Wallace jnr, as his son Paul, has also been a PE teacher at the school for more than eight years.

Paul, 32, said of his dad: “He has always been hugely popular, both with the pupils and the other staff members.”

Len, who lives in Roker with his wife, Lorna, and also has an older son, Chris, 34, said he initially plans to do some travelling following his retirement.