Pupils surprise popular head teacher as she retires

The pupils at Elrick created poems and artwork to present to Mrs Malcolm.

A head teacher who had hoped to retire quietly from her post has been honoured with a surprise assembly from her whole school.

Elrick Primary School in Westhill ignored head teacher Louise Malcolm’s plea for “no fuss” as she bowed out from a career spanning more than 20 years.

The school’s 490 pupils laid on a special show, including a performance by the choir of one of Mrs Malcolm’s favourite songs – On My Own from Les Miserables.

As Mrs Malcolm, 62, sat in a chair adorned with tinsel, youngsters presented her with poems and artwork, which said their head teacher “always listens to us” and is “magic”.

Mrs Malcolm said: “It is a very emotional day and it was definitely not expected – I did ask for no fuss but I’m so pleased. I’ll be really sorry to leave, letting go of the kids and staff will be hard.

“It’s been a great pleasure.”

Mrs Malcolm, who lives in Stonehaven, studied at the University of Aberdeen before joining Kinneff Primary School for seven years. Looking back on her career Mrs Malcolm admitted she had seen changes in how education is delivered.

She said: “Children are much more engaged now, they are more involved in the lessons and the format is less ‘teacher at the front’.

“We like to teach the children life skills from the very start, such as taking turns and making decisions, and the children are much more articulate now.”

Looking to her retirement, Mrs Malcolm says she doesn’t see herself travelling too far from working with children.

She said: “I would like to stay in the loop with education, maybe do some volunteering in my community. I also can’t wait to spend more time with my four grandchildren.

“I love being outdoors too, and hope to get better at golf.”

Deputy head teacher Leah Robinson said: “She has built a positive ethos in the school by modelling strong relationships, knowing the staff and children as individuals.

“She’s a nurturing person.

“She is incredibly busy, but always makes people feel like she has time to listen to them, supporting and giving valuable advice.”