A CWMBRAN head teacher has retired this week after 24 years in charge of schools in Torfaen.

Wayne Jones, 63, has stepped down from Llanyrafon Primary School, where he has been head teacher for 17 years – having previously been in charge at Victoria Primary School in Abersychan.

Mr Jones said the overwhelming memory looking back was of the “magnificent” teams he has worked with throughout his career.

“I wrote to the parents and said I’m so sad to be leaving but I’m very proud of what we have achieved, especially during these last 16 months,” he said. “It is times like these we show our togetherness.

“The teachers, the support staff, everyone has been magnificent.

“We were working blind as no-one has ever done this before. But I know our children were served by a fantastic group of people. I’m very proud.

“I’ve been a teacher and a trainee teacher since 1982, so I’ve been in education for almost 40 years.

“The journey has been incredible. I’ve met so many inspirational people – too many to mention. They have inspired me, right from Magor Primary School – the very first school I worked in.”

Free Press Series: Wayne Jones has retired as head teacher of Llanyrafon Primary School. Picture: Emily Jones.Wayne Jones has retired as head teacher of Llanyrafon Primary School. Picture: Emily Jones.


Reflecting on his proudest achievements as head teacher, Mr Jones said: “We worked to achieve ‘Green’ status and maintained it, and had successful Estyn inspections. We also achieved a National Quality Award which is the pinnacle of Healthy Schools. And our children have had consistently high results. We have been very proud of that as the children have worked very hard.

“I have been so blessed to work at Llanyrafon Primary School. The children have been superb and my colleagues have been incredible. And before that we had some wonderful people at Victoria Primary School.

“I have never woken up on a Monday and thought ‘urgh I’ve got to go to work’. I feel blessed.”

Mr Jones said that his own teachers at school are who inspired him to go into education.

“It was something I always wanted to do,” he said. “Looking back I had some really inspirational teachers who showed faith in me. They would inspire you, make you feel good about yourself and give you the confidence that you could achieve. I think that’s a very helpful message.

“Sometimes as a teacher, you don’t realise how much of an impact you can have on youngsters.”

Mr Jones decided to step down ahead of implementation of the new curriculum in Wales.

“I think the new curriculum will be really interesting," he said. "It’ll be interesting to see how that goes, but I felt it was time for someone else to bring that in.

“I was there to bring in the old curriculum and it is a really exciting time, especially for a young teacher, to drive how that is delivered.”

Free Press Series: Wayne Jones celebrating his retirement with staff at Llanyrafon Primary School. Picture: Emily Jones.Wayne Jones celebrating his retirement with staff at Llanyrafon Primary School. Picture: Emily Jones.

As well as thanking his colleagues for their support across his career, he also thanked his family.

“My family have been so wonderfully supportive during my career - my wife Linda, my daughters Bethan and Emily, son-in-law Angus and grandson Toby,” he said. “There have been some stressful times so to have a loving and supportive family has been so important.”

Last week, staff at the school arranged for the children to say goodbye to their outgoing head teacher.

“On Thursday the staff had arranged the children to write their memories of their year and some of them very kindly mentioned me and the stories that I have told,” said Mr Jones.

“Because I am a big Beatles fan, we had seven year groups all singing a different Beatles song for me.

“I’ve grown up with that music, so to hear it from our littlest years was wonderful.

“It brought me to tears – it was so emotional.”