Sunderland nursery teacher to retire after introducing generations of children to education in 50-year career

A much-loved nursery school teacher is retiring after 50 years in the profession she loves.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 3:52 pm

For the past 25 years Viv Vleugels has worked with three and four year-olds at Pennywell Early Years Centre nursery on Portsmouth Road.

Bosses say she will be a huge miss to staff and pupils alike – not least for her gardening abilities.

During her green-fingered lessons she has planted potatoes every year, so the children were given an idea of how things grow and decay.

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Viv Vleugels is leaving Pennywell Early Years Centre after 25 years.

She has also encouraged generations of children to love books and to expand their knowledge and vocabularies.

Before joining Pennywell, Viv, 66, worked at schools across Sunderland including Usworth Colliery and Cork Street in the East End. She entered the profession as a trainee at the age of 16.

Viv lives in Herrington with husband Maurice who she married in 1973. She took a few years out of work when she had their three daughters: Sally, Katie and Rosie

Viv said: “I’ve had a fantastic time, especially at Pennywell. The ethics there are remarkable and it’s run entirely in the children’s interests.

“I’ll miss the staff a great deal. They’re so dedicated. We’ve worked really well as a team and I’d like to thank them, especially Claire Nicholson. I’ve learned a lot from her.

“Of course I’ll miss the children too. I’ve had them coming back with their children and grandchildren – and they remember you.”

The Echo asked Viv how she would now spend her time. She answered: “Walking. Keep-fit. Reading. Sewing. Anything I haven’t been able to do. I enjoy history and of course there’s the family.”

Claire Nicholson is headteacher at Pennywell Early Years Centre and a long-standing colleague.

She said: “Viv’s commitment to the highest quality teaching and learning is evidenced in the progress the children make in her care and her contribution to the six outstanding Ofsted Inspections Pennywell Early Years Centre has gone through.

“During the pandemic she has also supported children with their learning at home through our online activities. Her commitment, enthusiasm and skills will be a huge miss to our team and we wish her a very happy retirement.”

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