A CELEBRATION of more than 400 years of service to children by 20 Devon head teachers , including three from North Devon, has been held by the county's schools chiefs. Devon's Director of Children and Young People's Services, Anne Whiteley, a

A CELEBRATION of more than 400 years of service to children by 20 Devon head teachers , including three from North Devon, has been held by the county's schools chiefs.Devon's Director of Children and Young People's Services, Anne Whiteley, and Director of Learning and Schools, Judith Johnson, hosted the celebration for heads who left their schools during the current academic year after a lifetime of service.Among the guests were Jan Sealy, the head of South Molton Junior, who has spent 22 years teaching in Devon, Martin Winter, former head of East-the-Water Primary in Bideford who had 15 years service in Devon and Jennifer Bateman who left Umberleigh Primary after seven years as head.They were all invited to a special buffet supper in Exeter with colleagues whose combined service totals over 400 years.Mrs Whiteley told them: "I wanted to acknowledge the years of service you have given to the education of Devon's young people and its communities."You are at the very centre of what we do in giving life chances to our young people and contributing to raising standards of learning and attainment."I want to say a very personal thank you for your commitment and professionalism."Some of you will have taught several generations of children from the same family."Whenever I visit schools I am always struck by the passion our teachers have for learning, their commitment to our children and young people and how they open up their horizons."Every one of Devon's 364 schools is unique but every one is committed to raising aspirations and achievement for our young people and ensuring they have the brightest possible future. "You have all made a massive contribution to that hugely worthwhile goal.