'You're like a second Mam to them': Much-loved South Tyneside nursery teacher says goodbye after more than 40 years service

A South Tyneside nursery nurse has said goodbye to the classroom for the final time after over 40 years working with young children.

By Hayley Lovely
Monday, 11th April 2022, 4:55 am

Jackie Smith has spent the last 42 years working in education and said her final goodbye to Mortimer Primary Nursery, in South Shields, as she starts her retirement.

She left college in 1980 and went to work at Barnes Road School for two years before it closed down and was re-deployed to the old Mortimer Infants Primary School, working in reception until 1989.

That same year Mortimer Primary Nursery was built and Jackie applied for the job and has been there ever since. She never anticipated she’d be there as long as she has been.

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Mortimer Primary School nursery nurse Jacqueline Smith retires after 42 years at the school.

She said: “It certainly doesn’t feel like I’ve been there that long, I don’t know where the time has gone.”

Jackie loves her job and spending each day with the children, she said: “You spend seven hours a day with a lot of the children and become so close to them, you’re like a second mam to them.

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"I love seeing their faces when they learn something new. I miss them when they go to primary school but it’s lovely to see them make that next step.”

Mortimer Primary School nursery nurse Jacqueline Smith reitres after 42 years at the school.

During her time she has seen many of her former pupils become parents with children of their own also attending the nursery.

She has been overwhelmed with the response to her retirement on Friday, receiving flowers, gifts and cards from staff, children, parents and a surprise visit from South Tyneside Mayor Cllr Pat Hay and Mayoress Jean Copp.

Jackie added: “I’m going to miss the staff and the banter we have, they’re more than colleagues to me, they’re close friends. Some of my pupils and even the older ones in the school have been coming up me asking me not to leave because they will miss me.”

Jackie, who turned 60 at Christmas, felt like now was the right time to go after the last two years of the pandemic and wants to spend more time doing things she enjoys.

Mortimer Primary School nursery nurse Jacqueline Smith reitres after 42 years at the school with a surprise from Mayor Pat Hay and Mayoress Jean Copp

She aims to spend her retirement travelling in her caravan, going out for meals with friends and plenty of walks with her dog.