Governor Retires After Decades of Service

by Catherine Smyth Media

AFTER more than four decades as a governor of Bacup Nursery School Kathleen Holt has finally decided to pass on the chains of office and retire.

As chair of governors Kathleen has known five different headteachers and is leaving on a high as the school has just been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted across all areas.

Her biggest achievement was when governors, staff and parents fought off the threat of closure in 2005. Proposed reorganisation of school provision in Lancashire left several Rossendale schools facing an uncertain future.

“I will never forget the relief everyone felt when we were told that it was staying open,” she said.

Since then the school has gone from strength-to-strength and from January the morning and afternoon sessions will have 96 pupils and a waiting list.

Headteacher Andrea Cooper said: “Kathleen is very committed and really cares about the children. When it comes to a decision at governors she always puts the children first and she has been a real help to me since I became head three years ago.”

When Mrs Holt became a governor the school was known as Thorn Nursery School and was based on Thorn Street and she was chairman when the school relocated to Cowtoot Lane.

She said: “My children were only small when I first became a governor, my friend Doreen Benson was chairman of governors at several schools and she encouraged me to get involved.

“I remember going to meetings at what was Western School in Stacksteads and the headteacher always used to bring in biscuits that his wife had made.

“Although I am resigning as chair, I am going to see my term out so will retire as a governor from Bacup Nursery School and Britannia Primary School in two years time.

“I am going to miss it because I have loved every minute of it.”

Kathleen, 77, also spent 12 years as a Lancashire County Councillor retiring from that role 10 years ago.

She had previously been chair of governors at St Saviour’s, Thorn and Britannia.

“I think it is time for someone younger to take over,” said Kathleen. “There have been so many changes at Bacup Nursery School, we have a forest school and just had a new £60,000 extension built to accommodate two-year-olds.

“The playground is being dug up and new drainage put in with new play equipment including a wigwam, a tyre tower and a climbing wall. The children love to play outside particularly in the forest school area.

“Each headteacher brings their own enthusiasm to the role and the current headteacher Mrs Cooper is especially fantastic.”

Tina Dwyfor-Jones is taking over as chair.

Although Mrs Holt will be one of the longest serving governors in Lancashire, she could never rival the longest ever – Mary Augusta Edwards from Anglesey, who finally retired aged 100 after 75 years as a governor.

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