Northgate headteacher set to retire

IT was in 1995 that Margaret Cannings stepped through the doors as head of Northgate St Andrew's First School in Great Yarmouth, with a vision and the desire to help children be all they can be.

IT was in 1995 that Margaret Cannings stepped through the doors as head of Northgate St Andrew's First School in Great Yarmouth, with a vision and the desire to help children be all they can be.

Now, 15 years later, and due to retire on April 1, she is ready to hand over the reigns.

She said: “I think I have achieved what I wanted, but it is now time for someone new, someone who has a vision of their own to take the school forward.”

From the age of eight, Mrs Cannings, who lives near Wymondham and is now 60, knew she wanted to be a teacher.


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Whether it was as the only one who could tie people's laces, or, a few years later getting involved with youth work as a teenager, she realised her passion and talent lay with working with people.

It was this, and a desire to try and have as big an impact on children's learning as possible, that led her from 1971 to teach at junior schools in some of the toughest parts of London.

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“I always taught in deprived areas, and I think that's because you can make the greatest difference. No child should leave an infant school feeling that they are a failure.

“I've taken that ethos with me, and here it is all about nurturing and helping confidence and encouraging children to be willing to have a try and not be scared of things going wrong.”

This drive, which has remained with her, is also partially what brought her to Yarmouth, and is evident among some the developments at the school.

Asked what she is proudest of, and the married bird watching enthusiast highlights the building of the pre-school and the Nurture Group, which helps meet the needs of particularly vulnerable children.

However, unlike the team that the head teacher works with, the paperwork that she has to deal with will definitely not be missed, and she is looking forward to the chance to relax and travel England.

And quick to praise her staff, she evidently also has a close bond with her pupils, even if some of them do express it bluntly;

Recalling a recent visit from a pupil into her office, Mrs Cannings said: “A youngster came up to me and asked why I was leaving.

When I replied that I was getting old, he told me that he knew I was getting old but said why does that mean you have to leave?”

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