Pupils, parents and staff at a Horsham primary school are mourning the tragic loss of their ‘inspirational’ deputy headteacher.
Janet King, 49, who lived in Horsham and was deputy headteacher at Kingslea Primary School, passed away at St Catherine’s Hospice in Crawley late last month after a battle with cancer.
Parents and pupils created a floral tribute outside the school in Kings Road, while an event which aims to celebrate her life will give the wider community an opportunity to pay their respects later this month.
Janet started teaching at Rudgwick Primary School in 1987 before moving to Horsham’s Chesworth Junior School in 1997, and then played a vital part in helping set up the new Kingslea Primary School on the site of Chesworth in 2006.
Nigel Goodall, headteacher at Kingslea, said: “Janet’s premature death is a tragic loss for her family and friends and all connected with Kingslea Primary School, and she is considered by all to be unique and irreplaceable.
“Her death has shaken the school community to its core, and I would like to commend the pupils, staff, parents, and governors in the way they have coped with this news and the support they have given me during this tragic event.”
Janet graduated from the West Sussex Institute of Higher Education in 1987, following in her grandfather’s footsteps by becoming a teacher.She started at Rudgwick, before moving on to Chesworth, becoming acting head until Nigel’s appointment in 1998.
The pair worked together for 16 years and Nigel described her as inspirational, funny, selfless, dignified, very loyal, and loved.
She was head of maths and ran booster classes to support some of the children.
He paid particular tribute to her work in helping set up Kingslea in 2006 and felt that much of the school’s subsequent success is owed to her.
Nigel added: “She was very popular with all the staff and they are all going to the funeral on Thursday and we are closing the school for that reason.”
The school will be holding a special assembly on Friday July 18 to celebrate Janet’s life, while parents and the wider community will be invited to visit from 11am-1pm.
Guests will be able to sign a book of condolences, which will be available at reception until July 22, and share their memories of Janet’s time as deputy head.
The funeral took place last Thursday July 3 and was be attended by family, staff, governors and the PTA.
Kingslea is arranging its own collection from staff and parents for St Catherine’s Hospice and Skin Cancer Research Fund via its office.
Donations can also be sent to Freeman Brothers Funeral Directors.