Goodbye Mrs Ratcliffe

Students and staff have waved her Bon Voyage to Mrs Ratcliffe as she prepares for her new life abroad.

Mrs Ratcliffe is taking early retirement from her job at The Co-operative Academy of Stoke-on-Trent in favour of sunny skies and sandy beaches.

On Wednesday 26th February students from past and present said their final goodbyes to Mrs Ratcliffe in a leaving ceremony at the school.

Mrs Ratcliffe, of Tunstall, said: "It was all a big surprise. Two of the lads came into me and they were arguing, I was shouting and trying to calm them down and I told them I was putting them both in detention.

"I went outside to get the forms and there everyone was with a bunch of flowers. I had no idea that it was a set-up, but I am relieved."

Mrs Ratcliffe first worked as a lunch supervisor, then a learning support assistant before landing the role as an inclusion manager at the school.

She said: "I love everything about my job, but I decided it was time to move on. I will miss the students and the staff. My time here has been great and I would like to thank everyone for making it so amazing."

One of Mrs Ratcliffe's fondest memories is falling over at school when she was challenged by a student to click her heels in mid-air.

She added: "I had a go but I fell straight on my face and the best of it was that I was caught on the CCTV cameras. You can imagine that everyone had a big laugh about that."

Mrs Crowther-Green, Assistant Vice-Principal at the school, believes Mrs Ratcliffe will leave a 'massive hole' in school life. She said: "Julie truly is the backbone of this Academy. She goes the extra mile for every single student and she has impacted on the lives of so many people.

"To me, she is not just a colleague, she is a very dear friend and somebody who will leave a great big hole in our lives.

"She introduced a nurture programme and a girls' group, both of which have been very successful. She ensures that students with difficulties have very few problems at the start of the day to ensure they have a very positive experience at the Academy.

"She has been in charge of the support and guidance for year 11 for over 10 years and she has been instrumental in ensuring the progression of students who would otherwise have struggled to complete their school life."

Fourteen-year-old Brittany Bradburn, of Norton, will be sad to see Mrs Ratcliffe go. She said: "She has really done a lot to help me throughout my time at school. I lost my mum a while back and she really supported and helped me through it. I'm really sad she is going."

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