Helicopter lands at Chichester school to surprise headteacher

Funtington Primary School pupils cheer as retiring headteacher Joy Arrowsmith prepares for her helicopter trip
Funtington Primary School pupils cheer as retiring headteacher Joy Arrowsmith prepares for her helicopter trip
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THE headteacher of a primary school near Chichester was left gobsmacked when it was announced a helicopter would come to whisk her away as a surprise retirement present.

It was role reversal as Funtington Primary pupils presented Joy Arrowsmith with cups of achievement, effort, courtesy, creativity and netball in her last week after 16 years at the school. She was then told she would be getting a helicopter ride, which collected her last Thursday.

A statement from the school said: “We managed to keep everything secret until the final assembly. She said her role as headteacher was more like a hobby than a job. She loved her job.

“She is looking forward to having more time to herself. She has been here a long time and we will be very sad to see her go.”

Mrs Arrowsmith had previously been deputy head teacher at Easebourne Primary. When she arrived at Funtington in 1995 there were only about 65 children on roll and just three classes.

Today there are more than 100 children in the school in four different classes. The school building has also increased in size. In her time at Funtington she has changed the old kitchen into a classroom, added an ICT suite, an office, a new staff room, an entrance hall with a new kitchen to the front of the building, a garage to store PE equipment and a beautiful library, of which she is particularly proud as it had been her dream for many years.

Mrs Arrowsmith’s leadership has been praised by OFSTED and there have been several very good inspections during her time as head. Her staff have been long-standing and some of those who have left have returned to work in the school. She also has strong relationships with governors and parents and she, herself, has said that she has felt privileged to be headteacher at Funtington as it is a great school with wonderful staff and children and supportive parents.

A party was held on Saturday to say thank you to everyone she has worked with over the years. Parents were invited to farewell tea and cake with Mrs Arrowsmith at the leavers’ fair last Wednesday. It was in this assembly that she was told the details of her leaving present from the staff and governors.

Her husband, Mike Arrowsmith, had managed to keep the surprise secret from her for several weeks and was waiting to accompany her on board.