Meridian School’s longest-serving teacher to step down after 45 years
- Credit: Picture: WILL DURSTON
The longest-serving teacher of a Royston school is retiring on tomorrow, after 45 years’ service.
Carol Read joined Meridian School in 1973 as a history teacher at the age of 21, her first job after college.
Originally from Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, Mrs Read thought she would get a couple of years’ experience teaching down south and then move back nearer home.
But she met future-husband Graham, a Royston-native who was driving Richmond’s coaches while he put himself through podiatrist training – and her path was sealed.
Mrs Read, who was first appointed by the upper school’s original headteacher Peter Stone, said: “Meridian has always been like a family. It was a very small school back then and Peter was a lovely guy to work for, all the heads I have worked for have been.
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“Royston was much smaller then – you knew everyone, and there was a very nice feeling about it.
“I’ve often taught the parents and even the grandparents of students now, and it’s been a real privilege. I love it when I walk around town and bump into parents.
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“I go into restaurants and pubs and see people I know. At the moment I’m having treatment at the dentist – I taught the dental nurses there and their children.
“I must’ve taught everybody under 60 in Royston.
“Some have told me over the years that they’re tearing their hair out wondering what their children will do, and I’ve told them that they’ll find their niche – and they stop me in the street later down the line and say you were right.
“Not every kid likes school, and education isn’t just about getting good grades. It’s about helping people in society to find a job they like and to grow up into decent human beings. That’s just as important in teaching as exam results.”
Mrs Read, 66, later moved over to the pastoral side of the school – where she was a head of year and mentor to pupils while teaching history and other subjects on the side.
She said: “It’s always been a lovely school to work at, and we’ve always helped each other. Of course there are problems that come up, and we all work together to resolve them.”
The Crow asked Mrs Read why she decided to retire now, and if the impending changes at the school – which will become a through school with Greneway and Roysia from September 2019 – impacted her decision.
She said: “I had been putting retirement off for years, and I think this seemed like a good time.
“There are going to be a lot of changes and it just seemed like the right time for me to go.
“I think it’s going to be difficult for a few years but once things settle down, hopefully it will be OK.”
In her retirement, Mrs Read is going to be working with North Herts-based charity Stand by Me to do voluntary work with teenagers who have gone through bereavement.
She said: “I’ve got so much experience with teenagers. They’re great and I want to continue working with them because they are tremendous fun and they have got so much to offer, and these days they have very complex problems with social media and things that weren’t around before.
“There’s the pressure of exams and grades – when I first started you did your best and that was it. I feel sorry for children who aren’t academic, schools are still geared towards academics.
“in the old days if you were bullied you went home at 4pm and got away from it, but now kids are keeping their phones on to see if others are saying horrible things about them – it’s just an awful lot of pressure on youngsters.
“But some of the problems remain the same whatever year it is and wherever you are – teenagers are teenagers after all.
“So I want to be able to use my experience in a positive way, to give something back.”