End of an era for Musselburgh as teacher leaves 'delightful' pupils

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PATRICIA McCALL is to retire from her role as headteacher of Campie Primary in Musselburgh after a teaching career of 37 years.

Her retiral comes at a high point for the school as it has received a glowing report from East Lothian council's executive director of education, Don Ledingham. His "follow-through" report noted that the school had made "very good progress" in following up on recommendations made in its last HMIe inspectors reports.

Ms McCall, 59, has been headteacher at the school for 16 years, and said: "I've always loved this place, I've worked in seven schools altogether, but this was an enduring love affair.

"I've loved the school community and being part of the school community and that means the staff and the children and, of course, their families. I've loved the fact that a primary school can really support and nurture its children and it can take them in and include them, and they 'belong' to you."

Before teaching at Campie, she was headteacher of Longstone Primary for seven years, and prior to that spent a year teaching in Virginia, USA, as part of a teacher exchange programme. She has also worked at Comiston, South Morningside and Cramond primaries, as well as a spell in Hawick, in the Borders.

Born in Glasgow, Ms McCall studied at the University of Edinburgh and then trained as a teacher at Moray House School of Education. She began teaching in 1972, taking her first job at Cramond.

She moved to Campie in 1993. She said the highlight of her career was being made a CBE in 2001: "I was extremely surprised, and then when the list came out I was just blown away by the fact that my name came under Penelope Lively, who is a writer I've always very much admired. I just sat and looked at that for a long time."

Ms McCall lives in Newington with husband Brian Palmer, who is a teaching fellow at Heriot-Watt University. She said she was particularly looking forward to enjoying her allotment in her retirement.

She said goodbye to her pupils with a special "Golden Handshake Day", when she and depute Cathy Clarke served the children ice creams from a stall in the playground.

She said: "I'll miss the children of course, there's just no two ways about that. That's one of the enormous pleasures of the job. There's a trail of delightful children in at one end of the school and out the other.

"Despite what people say about children these days, if anything, they're even more delightful than they ever were."

Her successor is the headteacher of Forthview Primary school, Sheila Laing.