Headteacher bidding fond farewell to Hawick school

Janice Chapman, the headteacher of Burnfoot Community School is retiring.
Janice Chapman, the headteacher of Burnfoot Community School is retiring.
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Burnfoot Community School’s headteacher is stepping down after 12 years in charge later this month.

Proud Terie Janice Chapman admits it will be a wrench to bid a fond farewell to pupils and staff at the Eildon Road school, where she was once also a class teacher and deputy head.

It brings to an end a classroom career in which she has also enjoyed spells teaching at both Easter Langlee and Wester Langlee primary schools and a four-year period as head of Langlee Primary School.

In the late 1990s, Mrs Chapman – married to David Chapman, a member of the Hawick band folk-rock band Scocha – took a secondment from the classroom to work for the local authority on an early-intervention project, helping very young children with literacy and numeracy development.

Another career highlight came in 2011 when she won Hawick Provost Council’s achievement award in recognition of her contribution to Burnfoot and the learning community’s four-year Vision 2014 project.

She also played a pivotal role in the Battle of Hornshole 500th anniversary celebrations three years ago.

The 59-year-old’s time at Burnfoot has also seen her welcome two Scottish first ministers – Donald Dewar, during the time she was the school’s deputy head, and, last year, Nicola Sturgeon.

A mother of two, Mrs Chapman has a two-year-old grandchild, Harris Morrison, and expects to spend some “granny time” looking after him.

But although she is retiring from full-time education, she still plans to seek a new challenge in the years ahead.

She said: “I intend to stay in education in some way on a part-time basis, but I’m not sure in what capacity yet.

“I will really miss the school. I’ll miss the kids and the stuff we do in school and the challenges that we have working with the children.

“The staff really work as a team, and there is a great camaraderie, and that won’t change.

“My husband says that I have been married to the school as long as I have been married to him, so I think it will be a wrench when I finally leave. I still love the school and the job, but I think now is the right time for me not to go on working full time.

“At the end of the day, it has been about the children and what they can learn.

“It’s always been about the kids and their achievements.”

Mrs Chapman’s replacement, Catriona Stewart, currently headteacher at Eyemouth Primary School, takes over in August.