A SCHOOL is saying goodbye to two of its most loved members of staff.

Parents held a surprise party for St Teresas Catholic Primary School reception teacher, Maria Gosling.

They were also sad to say goodbye to the headteacher, Frances Booker.

When the parents found out Mrs Gosling was leaving after 20 years at the school, they clubbed together to buy her an iPad Air and put on a surprise tea party.

Leander Swift, a parent whose sons both attend the school in Clairmont Road, organised the party on Friday.

She said: “I have been at the school asking staff and parents to sign a card and some of the messages inside are just amazing.

“The way she teaches really does prepare children for life.

“She was just the most amazing teacher and we are really sad to see her go. All the parents wanted to do something to show her how much she will be missed.”

The St Teresa Church Hall was decked with balloons and banners, and parents and students gathered around to cheer Mrs Gosling as she came in.

Mrs Gosling said: “It has been such a joy and a privilege to work at the school. I have always said to the parents of reception that we work together as a team.

“The support, care and love that parents have shown over the years has been overwhelming and I am aware of the honour given when parents entrust their child to us.

“I was completely taken by surprise by this afternoon and I am so grateful for all the gifts and good wishes.”

Headteacher Mrs Booker, who is leaving the school after seven years, said she is proud of how far the school had come.

She said: “In the last seven years the school has gone from receiving a satisfactory Ofsted report to an outstanding one.

“It feels wonderful for the whole school and it is a lovely end to a long career.

“Since my arrival I have had incredible support from the parents and staff, and I will miss seeing the children every day.”

Mrs Booker had her surprise party last week and said she had a wonderful time.

She said about her colleague: “Mrs Gosling is the most amazing and inspirational teacher I have met.

“She has shown total commitment to the children and it has been a great pleasure.”

Mrs Booker had previously taught at St Clare’s Catholic Primary School in Clacton for 22 years.

Both staff will leave the school on Friday, December 18 after a whole school church celebration.