Tina Tabor is retiring from Wellsway School this summer after spending her entire career – 41 years – at the Keynsham secondary school.
Tina, a Bristolian, who attended Merrywood Grammar School and Exeter University, joined Wellsway as a maths teacher in 1981 and is now back in that role, with three of her former students among her colleagues.
Over the years she has been a deputy head of year, head of year, head of maths and a member of the senior leadership team. She has served under six substantive headteachers and several acting headteachers.
This incredible long service might not have happened, however. In the early days, Tina applied for a job elsewhere but was offered a promotion to remain, so she stayed … and stayed.
“There have been a few long-serving staff at Wellsway but I think 41 years is a record,” she said.
“It has been a pleasure teaching and working with the thousands of young people that have come through the school. I have had many children tell me that I taught their dad or their auntie. So far, not one of them has said that I taught their nan or grandad! I have made many lifelong friends with past and present school staff and I have been fortunate to have been able to be in a profession which I have loved.”
Tina received an engraved vase for 40 years’ service but decided at that time she was not ready to stop.
Now, though, she is looking forward to being able to join her husband Garry on some international trips he makes for his work in the water industry. She will also have more time to spend with her daughters Rhianna and Alexandra and grandchildren Theo, nine, Florence, seven, and two-year-old Freddie. This will include supporting her grandchildren’s schools and her favourite hobbies of sewing and gardening.
“I thought leaving would be a difficult decision. I’m institutionalised – the car knows its way to work, I’ve been doing the journey so long. But I don’t have any regrets. It is an exciting new phase of my life.”
Former workmates returned to celebrate with Tina at an afternoon tea organised by maths department colleague Sarah Reve and current colleagues will mark her departure at the end of term.
Wellsway School principal Rob Pearsall said: “I have enjoyed working with Tina for the short period we have been together. Tina is an inspirational colleague; one full of energy, optimism, passion and enthusiasm. The very embodiment of great teacher, a professional with the highest expectations and one who wants the very best for her students. She will be greatly missed by staff and students alike.”
Andrea Arlidge, Chief Executive of Futura Learning Partnership, said: “Tina’s dedication to Wellsway School is remarkable. So many colleagues, students and families have cause to be grateful to her. We wish her a hugely enjoyable retirement.”