A Bulwell teacher is retiring after 40 years working at the same primary school.

Sue Hickman, who turns 58 tomorrow (Saturday), leads the nursery at Cantrell Primary School and will be leaving when it closes for the summer holidays next Tuesday.

When she joined Cantrell in 1981, Margaret Thatcher had been Prime Minister for two years, the first ever London Marathon was held, and Bucks Fizz won the Eurovision Song Contest for the UK with their song Making Your Mind Up.

Mrs Hickman began her career as a nursery nurse at the Cantrell Road school and went on to gain a teaching degree. She studied part-time while working in the nursery and has gone on to run the department. 

In 2017, she joined the senior leadership team and created the Rising Stars children’s centre for two-year-olds, as well as continuing to run a 40-place nursery.

Mrs Hickman is the longest-serving member of staff who is known among her colleagues for her sense of humour and fun, as well as a constant desire to ‘go the extra mile’ for the school, its pupils, parents and carers.

Current pupils have recorded special messages of thanks and Mrs Hickman will complete a tour of classrooms on Tuesday so she can say goodbye personally to them.

Mrs Hickman said: “Wow, how the years have flown by! When I first started teaching at Cantrell, I never imagined staying for 40 years. I’ve since taught multiple generations of families, which has enabled me to build strong connections within the Bulwell community.

“While leading the nursery team, it’s been really rewarding to see children flourish and become independent learners. I believe that our pupils have been given the best start in their educational journey. They all have their own personalities and never cease to make me smile.

“Like the children, I will always hold many fond memories of Cantrell – a place with such a supportive headteacher, true team spirit and the most amazing pupils.”

Headteacher Debbie Weaver paid tribute to her service: “I’m so proud of Sue and the incredible commitment to our school. Her four decades have meant that she’s worked with hundreds of families, who all hold fond memories of her. 

“One parent told me that it doesn’t seem possible that Sue is retiring because ‘she’s always been at Cantrell and the one member of staff they will remember forever’.

“Sue has been pivotal in building and securing the foundations for thousands of pupils in our community. The whole time, she has been forward-thinking in her approach and ahead of many new strategies and interventions. 

“She’s paved the way for a high-quality, language-rich environment which has clearly helped to gain and maintain our ‘Good school’ status. 

“Sue is genuine, nurturing and compassionate and always 100 per cent committed to our school. We will miss her very much as a friend and colleague, but her legacy will live on in future generations of Cantrell pupils and I wish her the very best in her retirement.”

Councillor Eunice Campbell-Clark, Portfolio Holder for Schools at Nottingham City Council, said: “I’ve represented Bulwell Forest for nearly 20 years so I know Cantrell Primary very well and recognise the fantastic work that Sue has done in her time there.

“Four decades of service is an incredible achievement and Sue will have left a permanent imprint on Cantrell in terms of the support it offers to pre-schoolers in those vital years before they start their educational journey.

“I’d like to thank Sue for that commitment and hard work, and on behalf of the Council wish her a restful, long and happy retirement.”