Sompting ‘royalty’ retires after 40-year association with village school

Head teacher Richard Cave and teaching staff at Sompting Village Primary School wish Kevin Woodgate well on his retirement

Head teacher Richard Cave and teaching staff at Sompting Village Primary School wish Kevin Woodgate well on his retirement

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Sompting ‘royalty’ Kevin Woodgate has finally said goodbye to the village primary school after a 40-year association.

He retired in 2008 after 32 years as a class teacher and has spent the last eight years working part-time as a support teacher.

Today, he has retired for good and teachers bade farewell at a buffet gathering after school.

Head teacher Richard Cave said: “Throughout his career, Mr Woodgate has always been a most highly professional and highly-respected teacher, who has always worked extremely hard to ensure all the children he has taught achieve their very best.

“His commitment and dedication over so many years is truly exemplary.

Mr Woodgate came from Buckinghamshire to do teacher training in Bognor in the early-1970s. He arrived at White Styles Middle School in 1974 and took lessons there over two years as a student.

He then joined the school as a class teacher in September 1976 – Mr Cave, describing him as ‘Sompting royalty’, produced his original application form at the retirement party.

Mr Woodgate said: “I was very lucky because I got promoted very quickly and I have had lots of different roles in the school.”

“I feel that I am going out on an all-time high. The school is the best it has ever been now.”

When White Styles and Templars merged to become Sompting Village Primary, Mr Woodgate decided to end his full-time teaching career, knowing that he would still be able to work with the children part time.

“I have been very focused with helping the children prepare for SATs tests and this year have specialised in maths,” he said.

“These last few years have been so rewarding, working with the children with specific needs and seeing them grow in confidence.”

His pupils each made a card, with a picture of Mr Woodgate on the front, and these were put together on a giant retirement card.

Inside, the children spoke of their appreciation for his help, with one boy saying: “I used to find long division really hard but thanks to you it is easy (and awesome).”

Mr Woodgate plans to travel, including a big trip to China later this year, and focus on art, which he has always enjoyed.

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