TEARS are set to flow in Seaford next week as Chyngton School bids a fond farewell to headteacher Jon Anniss.
The Eastbourne resident has been at the school for nearly 20 years and next Friday (December 16) will not only mark his birthday but his last day at the Milberg Road school.
The school is calling on former pupils and staff to help give him a special send- off next week.
In his two decades at Chyngton, Jon has enjoyed many highlights - in 2006 the school became the first in East Sussex to get an outstanding Ofsted - and on top of that the school has enjoyed much sporting success, winning the county cricket championships three years in a row.
In his time at the school, Jon – who says working with the delightful children and staff that are passionate about what they do also ranks high on the list – has battled for huts to be replaced with something more permanent.
He said, “In 2007 I sent every county councillor a 44th birthday card from the oldest of our ‘temporary’ classrooms to highlight our need for urgent replacement.The response was very positive and I received many letters from county councillors promising their support.
“The Director of Education was on the telephone commenting about the excessive number of councillors who had contacted him requiring an explanation, wanting to know what he was going to do.”
The campaign was successful. It was given a boost through the Primary Capital Programme, which saw the construction in 2010 of a new two-storey extension to the rear of the school, with six classrooms and a small hall.
The school which had around 285 pupils when the father-of-two started and now boasts around 425, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008.
Jon said, “What we’ve always tried to do is be a family. We’ve always tried to give the school an inclusive feel, where everybody matters and everybody is listened to.
“Where every child can strive to achieve their best and feels fully supported to achieve their goals. The excellent results of recent years encourage us to feel we are on the right track.”
Jon, who is a qualified school improvement partner and a local leader in education said, “I always planned to retire early. I’ve found it’s been so busy in the last 18 months that my Monday to Friday life doesn’t exist at all.
“I will still be able to carry on some work with schools but have more control of my agenda.”
The sports enthusiast, who swims and runs every day, will still be kept busy as he plans to visit his sister in Australia and may also carry out work in schools in his spare time.
Asked about leaving, he said, “I have mixed feelings. I’m looking forward with a lot of trepidation but a lot of excitement to the next stage on my journey.
“I shall miss the children dreadfully, I’ve always loved working with children and I’ve been very fortunate to work with some wonderful teachers who give so much to the children – much more than they are ever expected to give.
“I’d also like to recognise the brilliant work of the Chyngton School PTA who have given so much energy and time to support the children and to make a genuine difference to the school.”
He added, “I’m sure it will be emotional on the final day, after all this is what I have done for almost 34 years.
“I hope I am leaving behind a really positive legacy and something that can be built upon to continue to make the school even better. I have always focused on the children developing pride in themselves and in their personal achievements.
“If Chyngton School can continue that and support all the children to have high expectations and high aspirations and to and to take genuine pride in their efforts, I shall be very satisfied.”
l All past pupils and parents are invited to say farewell to Jon on Tuesday (December 13) from 3.45pm onwards – there will be tea, coffee, squash and biscuits.
l Former colleagues who have worked with Jon, staff, and governors are invited to say goodbye to Jon on Wednesday December 14 from 3.45pm onwards.