PETER Jones could be forgiven for feeling more than a little thoughtful when schools reopen for the autumn term, next week.

The 63-year-old has spent four decades in the teaching profession, with the last 18 as headteacher of Littlegarth School, in Nayland.

Now represents the end of an era, though, as he is retiring from his post and preparing for a well-earned breather.

Mr Jones started as head of PE at Holmwood House, in Lexden, in September 1981.

He then became deputy head in September 1995 before being appointed headteacher at Littlegarth in September 2003.

“I’ve been lucky during my career and especially since arriving at Littlegarth,” he said.

“It was only eight years after the school had moved from Dedham to Horkesley Park, in Nayland.

“There was so much opportunity for development and it turned out to be an adventure that lasted 18 years.

“In my time there I worked with staff and governors to raise standards across the curriculum, encouraging children of every age to be the best that they could be, whatever the activity and whatever their ability.

“Teaching is a special profession and it’s been such a privilege to play a small part in the lives of so many special young people over the past 40 years.

“It’s such a wonderful school and I look forward to seeing it continue to go from strength to strength in the years to come.”

Read more >> Popular head Peter is retiring after four decades teaching in Colchester

Amid many incredible memories, there was also heartache when brave and talented student Lizzie Bramall died in October 2018, having been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in the February.

Mr Jones admits it was a harrowing time and he is finishing his tenure as head with a fundraising litter-pick in her memory.

“Lizzie started at the school when she was just two so I’ve known her family for years,” he said.

“She was an incredibly creative, bright and friendly girl and generous in spirit.

“She was a model pupil and wanted to keep coming to school for as long as possible.

“I remember her writing a letter to me during the Easter holidays about a grandparents’ day we were due to host for 360 guests.

“She wanted to know if she could organise a cake sale and from that alone she managed to raise £4,000.

“Lizzie’s Fund stemmed from that and she soon published a cookery book, packed with recipes, to raise even more money.

“She had a great love for baking and we decided to name one of our food technology rooms after her.


“Called Lizzie’s Kitchen, it’s the most popular room in the school.

“She kept battling until the end and in the month we lost her, she took part in a sponsored walk.

“Her parents pushed her around the school grounds.

“Our school has grown stronger and closer because of her influence.”

Lizzie’s parents have carried the fundraising baton ever since, now having collected in excess of £350,000.

To play his part, Mr Jones is doing 40 hours of community service during August, picking up litter in the surrounding villages.

“This is a cause so close to the school’s heart and I’m enjoying it,” he said.

“Any school is a family and our community was devastated when we lost Lizzie.

“Mark and Sally, her parents, have done so well to cope and keep her memory alive by raising money for Lizzie’s Fund.

“We still feel strongly and one of the things we came to realise is how little research goes into children’s brain tumours.

“That’s what this money is for, to help ensure other young boys and girls and their families don’t have to go through something like this.

“I tend to walk along one side of a road for an hour, then cross over and head back the other way.

“Hopefully I can raise as much money as possible.

“The 40 years represent the 40 years of my career, having started as a PE teacher.

“Sadly, my body isn’t what it used to be and I can’t take on a physical fundraiser, like running a marathon.

“However, this challenge seemed perfect and, having sat at a desk running a school for all those years, I didn’t ever have the opportunity to enjoy two-hour walks.

“Now I’m doing this and I feel a sense of real achievement.

“It’s already been quite a marathon but I find it astounding what people throw into the roadside.

“Fast food boxes, face masks and wet wipes are top of the list of frequent items but there have also been numerous cans and bottles and even soiled nappies have been picked out of hedges.”

Mr Jones has contacted Colchester Council to become a litter warrior for the month of August.

“Key areas of Colchester are kept tidy by volunteers who clear the streets on a weekly basis,” he said.

“Now I’m aware of the amount of work it takes to keep our streets tidy, I’m filled with respect for those that work hard on our behalf.”

Mr Jones still has 20 hours to complete by the end of this month and he is keen to raise even more money for Lizzie’s Fund.

If you would like to support him, head to his Just Giving page via