July 22, 2022 01:34pm
A much-loved city headteacher has retired after more than 37 years of transforming the life chances of children at Meon Infant School in Milton, Portsmouth.
Karen Morey, who joined Meon on probation in September 1985, says the school community caught her heart from day one - which has been the reason why the school has been her first and only place to teach.
She said: “I’m excited for retirement, but it’s mixed with a tinge of sadness as I am part of a community here. I will miss the children, the staff, and the parents because I do feel that I am part of Milton.
“I feel honoured and quite blessed to be part of this community. I have loved this school for so long, which is one of the reasons I didn’t move.”
Mrs Morey started at the school in Reception and went on to serve other year groups, before becoming Deputy Head, and Acting Head this past year.
Situated next door to Meon Junior School, in which Meon Infant is one of the main feeder schools to, both schools are part of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust.
From September, they will both come under one umbrella, with Sara Paine as the Executive Headteacher stepping in to lead.
Karen said: “At Meon, it’s such a family school. There were lots of other people who stayed here for a long time as well. We were a family within the staff and within the community. It has been a really nurturing school.
“I have taught lots of the parents of the children that come to school, and often at the beginning when I was in the classroom, I would ask the children whose mums, dads, aunties and uncles I have taught, and many of them would raise their hand.”
Karen’s journey at the school began in April 1985, when she applied to work in education for Hampshire County Council.
Back then, those in education wouldn’t apply for a particular school, but the council managing education for the area.
The county asked whether Karen was okay to work in either Southampton or Portsmouth, and she was happy with both, which led her to Meon Infant School.
She said: “On my first day, I thought I had to go out and buy new lipstick, because I felt too young so I needed a new lipstick to make me feel a little bit grown up.”
Asked about her biggest learning throughout her time at Meon Infant School, Karen said: “An Ofsted inspector approached me once to say that I obviously love children. I was taken aback as I thought everybody in education loves children.
“The inspector said, but you have a particularly wonderful love for children… and that’s just me. I’d say to anyone in education to always be very children first with a constant focus on seeing children being happy and flourish... that's what I have learnt.”