Retiring Beaumont Hill Academy principal Clare Devine (right) receives a bouquet of flowers from deputy head and principal-designate Caroline Green

Retiring Beaumont Hill Academy principal Clare Devine (right) receives a bouquet of flowers from deputy head and principal-designate Caroline Green

Head of Beaumont Hill Academy Clare Devine received gifts of flowers and champagne at a ceremony at The Education Village, Darlington, as dozens of colleagues, friends and family gathered to celebrate her 30 years in teaching.

Initially seconded for just three months in 2013, Clare took over the reigns at Beaumont Hill after teaching for 15 years at Abbey Hill School, Stockton-on-Tees.

“I’m not someone who generally likes surprises, but I’m absolutely delighted to see so many people here this evening,” she said.

“During my career I have been lucky enough to work with a group of staff with the highest dedication, who do their absolute best for children with special educational needs. Their care and support have been quite exceptional.

“I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to work here and, while I am looking forward to my retirement, I will also miss the dynamism and excitement of working in The Education Village.”

Currently the deputy head, Caroline Green will take over the role of principal from September.

She began her career in mainstream primary education in 1987 and has been a teacher at Beaumont Hill for over 26 years.

“I clearly have very big shoes to fill in taking over from Clare but am looking forward to continuing to move Beaumont Hill Academy forward with the help of my amazing colleagues and our remarkable students,” she said.

Following speeches and a musical video of staff and students saying goodbye, guests were treated to a selection of non-alcoholic cocktails and a buffet while being entertained by Stockton-based soul band Apollo Arts.

Leading the tributes, Beaumont Hill autism lead Lesley Hattle said: “Clare is a remarkable person, so professional and inspires everyone to go above and beyond.” 

Chief executive of the Education Village Academy Trust Mike Butler added: “Clare has done a tremendous job in leading Beaumont Hill Academy. She has also made a very significant contribution to the wider leadership of our trust and to education generally.

“I am delighted that we have appointed Caroline, who I know will ensure the continued success of our wonderful school.”