On Thursday 16th July 2015, Laura Jeffreys and Gemma Hill from New Directions Education met with Mr Peter Jenkins to bid him farewell as he retired from Libanus Primary School in Blackwood.
On arrival at the school, Mr Jenkins thanked the team for his recent invite to the New Directions Inspirational Teacher Awards, held at the Mercure Holland House in Cardiff in June. He remarked how he was overwhelmed by how much of a ‘big deal’ the event was and how many people were present. Mr Jenkins took a particular interest in the ‘The Choir Factor’ winners, Treorchy Comprehensive, adding that he hopes Libanus Primary enter next year, as it was a phenomenal opportunity for schools and his choir are so fantastic!
(Mr Jenkins pictured above with his Deputy, Lynne Richards at the Awards)
Whilst wishing Mr Jenkins farewell, the New Directions ladies asked if they could interview Mr Jenkins about his career, so that it could be shared with current and past staff and pupils.
LJ: How many years have you been at Libanus Primary School?
PJ: Since 1985, so 30 years. At the age of 31, I started as Deputy at school and stayed in the same position until 2012, when I was appointed as Head.
LJ: How long did you teach prior to this?
PJ: 9 years.
LJ: What was your favourite subject?
PJ: I love English Literature, anything to do with reading and writing.
LJ: Where did you study?
PJ: Manchester University.
LJ: I’m a bit of a football fan, so did you watch or support either of the Manchester sides whilst living there?
PJ: I used to love Manchester United, but always followed Cardiff City [LJ smiles] I’m now a Swansea City fan
LJ: [Sighs] Someone has to be…Bluebirds!
PJ: I’ve always been a rugby fan at heart though and followed Newbridge Rugby Club for over 30 years.
LJ: Did you have a job prior to teaching and did you always want to teach?
PJ: I always wanted to teach, but was a factory worker in Cwmcarn prior to my studies and career.
LJ: What do you love about your job?
PJ: The teaching and learning environment. Making it a happier, better and brighter place for children to learn and grow.
LJ: What would you say the highlights of your career have been?
PJ: The ultimate highlight was walking through the gates of Libanus Primary School. I remember my interview day, down to; the smell, the children playing on the playground, to how the school itself looked. It just felt right and I have never looked back.
LJ: Can you give us an interesting fact about you, that people perhaps don’t know?
PJ: My staff know me inside out, as we’re all so close, but one thing I don’t think they know is that I won the Teacher of the Year for Women’s Magazine for Wales and the West many years ago when I was Deputy. I had an interview with Roy Noble, Radio One and the Blockbuster presenter, Bob Holness. My partner and I were given a trip to London too, which was a pretty big deal to us!
LJ: And finally…what do you have planned for your retirement?
PJ: Well I live just over the back of the school, so I’m going to try and get myself away for the first few weeks, so that I can’t hear the children in the playground. I have plans to visit; Lourdes, Peak District and Kefalonia. I also plan on becoming a supply teacher for New Directions and am in the process of registering.
LJ and GH: Yay!
Mr Jenkins (pictured above with all of his retirement gifts) was also recently awarded ‘Teacher of the Year Award 2015’ (certificate above) by Gaffaccino’s Café in Ystrad Mynach.
Both Account Managers said, “Mr Jenkins has been such a pleasure to deal with over the years. He’s always been so kind and approachable and it will be such a shame to see him leave. We wish him all the best for the future and hope that he completes his registration with New Directions as a Supply Teacher so that we can keep in touch!”