Dedicated school staff bow out after 60 years’ combined service

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Two long-serving members of staff at a school have bowed out after more than 60 years’ combined service.

Cleaners Sue Farnsworth and Elizabeth Clarke have hung up their mop and bucket at Frederick Gent School in South Normanton after joining in the 1980s.

Sue joined the school in 1985 while Elizabeth linked up in 1986.

Julie Broadbent, headteacher at the school, said: “The school has a lot to thank Sue and Elizabeth for - it’s a job that can sometimes be taken for granted. But we all know that their work, and that of the team in general, is just as important as every other job in the school.

“When you walk through the front door you can see immediately the results of the team’s work.

“The staff and students at Frederick Gent School wish them both a long and happy retirement.”

Of all the changes they have experienced over the years, the most significant was moving into the new school building in 2004.

Ms Broadbent said: “Prior to that their work had been made so much harder by the shortcuts that the students were able to make across the fields and grassed areas, either on their way to school in the morning or in between lessons. As a result, when the weather was bad and it had been raining the students would bring in sludge on their shoes – which not only trampled onto the floors but also transferred to the legs of the chairs & desks in the classrooms.”

She added: “If that wasn’t bad enough most of the rooms had hard floors so when the mud dried and it was being swept up at the end of the day it would create great clouds of dust.

“So the cleaning team were especially delighted when we moved into the new building and all the walk ways were paved so their job was made much easier. An indication of how things had improved was when the school was recognised as one of Derbyshire County Council’s flagship schools as it was seen as one of the cleanest schools in the county.”