The queen of all headteachers bows out after 25 years

Marian Ham pictured with pupils at Sedlescombe Church of England Primary School. SUS-160630-135847001
Marian Ham pictured with pupils at Sedlescombe Church of England Primary School. SUS-160630-135847001

She’s twice portayed the Queen and seen two generations of children pass through her school, but now a much-loved headteacher has called it a day.

Marian Ham has been in charge at Sedlescombe CE Primary School for 25 years but will be handing over the reins at the end of term.

Marian Ham as the Queen

Marian Ham as the Queen

When Mrs Ham joined the school it had 100 pupils and three classes; it now has seven classes and not enough places for all the children who want to join.

As she heads into her final weeks at Sedlescombe, Mrs Ham said she was feeling “so emotional” about leaving.

She added: “I’ve been so fortunate. I’ve loved my work and still love it and I’ve been enthusiastic about it, but there comes a time it’s time to step away before I get too old and too tired to do the job properly.”

As well as devoting herself to the serious business of teaching and guiding the children and inspiring her staff, Mrs Ham has shown her lighthearted side as well.

She dressed as the Queen for the Diamond Jubilee and also for the Monarch’s 90th birthday – arriving at the school in a horse and carriage while the children sang ‘Happy Birthday’.

Her deputy, Emma Kesper described Mrs Ham as “a totally dedicated headteacher” and added: “She never does anything half-heartedly and whereas others might have given up a long time ago – me included – she keeps persevering.

“I have always been struck by her desire to go the extra mile especially for vulnerable children and families – another quality which I have learnt from her.”

Speaking about her replacement, Caroline Harvey, Mrs Ham said: “The lovely thing for me is, like myself, she has a strong passion for children and every child being an individual, and that’s the sort of person I wanted to hand over to.”

She added: “It feels so emotional to be doing things for the last time.

“The school is in a good place, the staff team are wonderful, the governors are wonderful and the children are the best.

“I’m proud I’m leaving a school that’s flourishing and in a good place and I’m sure it will go from strength to strength.”

Staff and children have big plans for a send-off for their head, with an event at the school on July 15 from 6-8pm. All members of the community as well as former pupils are welcome to attend.

A letter from an ex-pupil summed up how many feel about Mrs Ham. It read: “You are the person who guided me to the person I am today.”

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