It was a tearful farewell for Brook Field Primary headteacher Mel Sancto when she moved on at the end of July to a new post near Cardiff.
Mel was appointed by former head Roger Nicholas as a newly qualified teacher in 1990 and worked her way up through the ranks of deputy to become head teacher six years ago.
She arrived in the first year of the national curriculum, where standards were barely talked about, visits by Her Majesty’s School Inspectors were occasional, and Ofsted was not even on the horizon.
"Now there is a great deal of work to comply with the national curriculum and Ofsted requirements," said Mel. "But at Brook Field we’ve always been able to make those requirements our own to provide an exciting and rich experience to the children. Their years here will be remembered forever."
Commenting on what it will be like to leave Swindon, Mel, who is only the third headteacher since the Brook Field opened in 1987, said: “I can’t imagine not being here, I’ve spent most of my adult life at Brook Field, the school is like family to me.
“I’ve seen children I used to teach come through as parents, and even trained one of them as a teacher.”
When asked what her legacy is for Brook Field, Mel said: “I hope I’ve created a happy school with children who love learning, teachers who don’t want to stand still, who are always looking to be better, and parents who feel welcomed and that they can come and talk to me.”
She moved to Newport to be with her partner last Christmas. She said her new school, Lisvane primary near Cardiff, is quite similar to Brook Field and she wanted to transfer our imaginative approach to education.
Handing over the headship reins to her deputy Dan Clark Mel said: “We’ve worked very closely together and I know the Brook Field values will continue with Dan at the helm.”
Pictured: Mel Sancto, top, with Year 2 and Year 5 children at the end of term. Above and right, Mel, an enthusiastic participant in the Brook Field book day