A teacher from North Devon has retired - nearly four decades after starting a week-long trial at a Bideford school.

One of North Devon’s longest serving teachers is stepping down after 38 years of teaching in Bideford.

Jan Minhinnett taught her final lesson at Kingsley School on Friday – nearly four decades after starting a week-long trial at Stella Maris Convent in 1978.

Working as a class teacher for year two pupils, she moved to Grenville College as part of the school’s merger with Stella Maris.

In 2009, she joined Kingsley School, which brought Grenville and Edgehill College together.

Mrs Minhinnett said she was looking forward to a change.

She said: “I’ve got two grandchildren who are 18 months and three, so I’ll be able to spend more time with them.

“I also want to start to do things that I’ve thought I’ve wanted to do, like travelling, pursuing hobbies, which I’ve not had time to do because my whole life has been school.”

While the education sector has changed dramatically over the last four decades, the 61-year-old said one thing had remained constant.

She said: “It’s changed terrifically in 38 years – the difference is enormous, but actually the children are the same. They think the same and they are who they are.”

Mrs Minhinnett described working with nuns at the Stella Maris Convent as one of the memorable moments of her teaching career.

She said: “When I started with the nuns, they were amazing people.

“They were just so far from what you’d expect.

“I remember going in and being apprehensive because I wasn’t a Catholic and I didn’t know much about it.

“But they had wonderful stories and they were wonderful people, even though they were in that very strange environment.

“It’s been amazing and I’ve loved every minute of it, and I want to say thank-you to everyone, friends, family and colleagues that have made it all possible.”

Return to our home page for more North Devon news stories