Head teacher steps down after 17 years at the helm of Barnstaple primary

As schools prepare to break up for the summer holidays this week, Orchard Vale Community School’s Jan Baker will bidding a fond farewell after 17 years as the school’s head teacher.

Jan, who has been in the post since the Barnstaple primary opened in 1999, has been teaching children in Devon for 37 years.

She has decided to take on a part-time role with the Primary Academies Trust at Pilton Community College, setting up the Teaching School Alliance, which will focus on the development and support of teachers.

Mrs Baker said she also hopes to spend more time at her smallholding, where she plans to learn how to spin alpaca fleeces, ready to design and knit.

She said: “I’ve been very privileged to work with so many great staff, amazing families, supportive governors and special children over the last 17 years.”

Fiona Pearce will take up a new ‘head of school role’ next year, with Pilton’s Louise Miller-Marshall as executive head.

Mrs Baker is one of eight retiring Devon head teachers to be honoured by Devon County Council schools chiefs this week.

Their dedication – some 200 years of service to children in the county – was marked at a special garden party celebration with council leader John Hart; schools councillor, James McInnes; chief executive Phil Norrey; and head of education and learning, Sue Clarke.

Mr Hart said: “Devon has a lot to be proud of – particularly in its education service.

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