End of an era as High Peak headteacher bids farewell after two decades

Retiring head Sue Coackley with some of the year two pupils who are leaving for junior school
Retiring head Sue Coackley with some of the year two pupils who are leaving for junior school

A headteacher is preparing to bid an emotional farewell to staff and pupils after 20 years at the helm of a High Peak school.

Sue Coackley has been a familiar face at Fairfield Infant and Nursery School since September 1997, but is due to retire from that role on Friday.

The 60-year-old said: “I wanted to leave while I’m still enjoying myself. I love coming to work and I will be sad to leave, but the time felt right.”

In September, Sue will begin a part-time role with Derbyshire County Council as an associate school improvement advisor. She said: “I’m looking forward to not having to get up at 5.50am every day and drive from Ashbourne, and have some me time.”

Since starting work at the Bench Road school, Sue estimates she has travelled 156,000 miles to teach little ones and watch them grow.

She said: “When I first started we had no computers, which when you think about it now seems a very confusing concept.”

Sue will be spending some of her free time re-upholstering her dining room chairs and teaching her dog Tess to walk to heel.