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A Cambridge headteacher has announced her retirement from a primary school “built on love” after celebrating her 40th year in education.

Carol McCarthy, who has been headteacher at the Castle School, in Courtney Way, for the last 12 years, celebrated her incredible milestone last month as she prepares to hand over the reins at the end of the summer term.

Carol spent 30 years as a headteacher working in special schools around the country before her 12 years at the Castle School. She was previously a PE teacher and was one of the first to introduce the subject into special schools where it is now a major part of the curriculum.

But it is at the Castle School where she has her fondest memories.

“My first memory of the school is standing in wellies, in a drainage ditch with a digger, a year before the school opened,” she said. “I have never experienced a team like the one at Castle – they are brilliant.

“My abiding memory is of the wondrousness of children; they will stay in my heart forever. This is a school built on love and it has been an absolute pleasure to teach here. Prior to Castle I was a head in other special schools in London and Cornwall but Castle is my school. I have been offered other opportunities but I could never let the school go and the school has never let me go. We talk about the ‘Castle magic’ it truly is a magical place.”

With just a few months until she retires, Carol is now looking forward to a welcome rest at the end of the academic year.

“My thought about retirement is ‘what will I do without the children?’ I’m looking forward to a nice, term-time holiday in September – the first time in my life I’ve been able to do this,” she said. “I’m not ticking off the days, I have loved every minute but I’m sure I will continue to be busy. I have a long list of other things that I would like to be able to do and I want to continue to make a difference to young people’s lives.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been part of the past and the present Castle and to wish everyone who will be part of this amazing school’s future every happiness, and to my wonderful family and friends I couldn’t have done any of this without their love and support.”

Chris Baker, who is currently the Deputy headteacher at Samuel Pepys School in St Neots is taking over the role in the autumn.

He added: “I am looking forward to joining the amazing Castle School in September. I have always enjoyed visiting ever since it opened and I am excited at working with a wonderful group of pupils, staff and families to keep up Carol's excellent standards.”

Castle School headteacher Carol McCarthy with pupils and incoming headteacher, Chris Baker (right)

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