Creative headteacher at village school retires after 41 year career

Grt Whelnetham: Retiring headteacher'Grt Whelnetham Primary school'Head Mrs Chris Lawson retires on Friday after 9 years at the school'Picture Mark Westley ANL-151215-190150009
Grt Whelnetham: Retiring headteacher'Grt Whelnetham Primary school'Head Mrs Chris Lawson retires on Friday after 9 years at the school'Picture Mark Westley ANL-151215-190150009
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A headteacher who oversaw ‘outstanding’ standards and developed pupils’ creativity at a village primary school has retired after a 41 year career.

Chris Lawson has led Great Whelnetham Primary for nine years and has seen it expand from 63 to 138 children.

Her proudest achievements at the school include an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted and developing the creative arts, which led to a Gold Artsmark award.

She said: “The school has lovely children, amazing staff and really supportive governors and parents.

“I love being with the children and the best part of being a headteacher is that you create opportunities for children and let them have a go at things.”

Mrs Lawson started teaching in 1974 after training in Bristol. She spent her first year in Leicestershire before teaching in central London.

She was acting head at Wetheringsett Primary School and headteacher at Kersey Primary School, which also received an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted.

In recent years, Mrs Lawson has worked with a Local Leader of Education and mentored several new heads.

On developing the school’s creativity, she said: “We’ve introduced really good access to music and instruments, we’ve worked with the cathedral on their art exhibitions, we’ve done creative partnerships and been part of Eastfeast.

“Children are able to develop in different ways through their creative side and they’re learning practically.”

In her retirement, she plans to spend time with her family and develop her artistic interests which include watercolour, illustration and textiles.

Kathryn Parkin, former acting head at the recently closed Stowmarket Middle, will take on Mrs Lawson’s role at Great Whelnetham.