Pupils, staff and parents joined forces to throw a surprise picnic to say farewell to a much-loved headteacher as he retires from his post after 25 years as a teacher.
Stuart Johnson had no idea what was planned for him when he walked through the doors of Monkton Junior School earlier this week.
The 54-year-old retires from the position officially today, leaving behind the school where he started his teaching career 25 years ago.
Along with a picnic, a special assembly was held where he was presented with memories throughout his career while youngsters sang songs.
Mr Johnson, who returned to the school as headteacher in 2003 after a short time away working at a school in Gateshead, said: “I feel so blessed to have worked in a school, with this community, the staff, children and parents - they are all wonderful.
“They kept the picnic a surprise. We all went out onto the field for lunch, then they held an assembly for me. They even brought my mam into the school and my daughter.
To be able to retire in the same school where I started my career, I feel so honoured.Stuart Johnson
“It was lovely, the children sang, it was a beautiful afternoon - it has left me overwhelmed.
“The kindness shown towards me has been lovely.”
Mr Johnson entered the world of teaching at the age of 28, qualifying as a teacher four years later and gaining a job at Monkton Juniors.
It was during an Ofsted inspection, it was raised that he should look at furthering his career.
Supported by the previous head David Coyne he secured a position as a deputy head at a school in Gateshead.
However, when the job as Monkton Junior School’s headteacher became vacant he took the chance and applied returning back to the school in 2003 in his new role.
Mr Johnson added: “I have been really lucky, the staff the school have been wonderful and we have an excellent deputy headteacher.
“I just feel now is the right time for me to retire and to be able to do so in the same school where I started my career, I feel so honoured.”
Mr Johnson says with his extra time he hopes to spend it with his daughter and play more in the heavy rock band he is part of.