Top of the class! Lynn becomes headteacher after dedicating 34 years to St Raphael’s

LYNN Lakner has spent the whole of her 34-year teaching career at St Raphael’s Catholic Primary School in Millbrook.

It has been an eventful journey from newly qualified teacher to being appointed headteacher in March.

Lynn Lakner and members of the school student council

In between, Lynn has taught religious education and ICT and been middle leader, deputy headteacher, head of school and acting headteacher after the executive headteacher left.

Lynn said: “After the interview process I was proud and privileged to be appointed headteacher in March.

“It has been quite a journey and I have learned a lot from inspirational people I have worked with along the way.

“There have been such good people – brilliant staff and governors and fantastic parents and children.

“The school is going from strength to strength and each year is full. We have a few nursery places available and only one in the reception class.”It is unusual for somebody to stay so long at a school.

“I have always had opportunities, been challenged and loved working here,” she said.

Lynn added St Raphael’s, which this year celebrated its 50th anniversary, has grown considerably and today has a staff of 20 which includes teachers, teaching assistants, office and catering.

In her early years, Lynn recalled there were insufficient numbers to have single streams with classes combining two years.

And even since 2012, numbers have jumped from 167 to 219 which includes the nursery and reception class.

Lynn, who is from Manchester but has lived in Mossley since moving to St Raphael’s, pointed out the building has changed markedly with a new reception building and chapel built along with other structural changes.And currently being developed is a wooded area which will be used as an outdoor classroom used for the curriculum as well as a place to play and relax.

“Our ethos has not changed, though, which is of gospel values being at the forefront of everything we do in school to make St Raphael’s such a happy and successful school,” she continued.

“Children are encouraged in everything they do and to live life to the full.”

There is an abundance of events held including school plays, Christmas fair, Easter retreat, St Raphael’s Day and harvest festival while the school actively takes part in many Catholic sports events.

One former pupil who has gone on to greater things is Rob Holding, a professional footballer for Arsenal.Pupils sent Rob good luck messages before he played in the 2017 final of the FA Cup and he telephoned the school the day before the match to say thank you.

Lynn remembers teaching ‘Robert’, adding the school had a football coach at the time who recognised he was an outstanding player.

Lynn added there are many current pupils whose parents she taught in her early days at St Raphael’s.

“It is interesting to see how their lives have developed and a great compliment they want to bring their children to St Raphael’s,” she said.

The children of many staff members are also educated at St Raphael’s including Lynn’s own son.
Lynn added she has support from governors and parish priests Father Philip Atkinson and Deacon Antony Zidan.

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