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‘It was nice to help the kids’ says retiring Inverness pupil support assistant

By Alasdair Fraser

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Barbara Macleod with her former colleagues..Picture: James MacKenzie.
Barbara Macleod with her former colleagues..Picture: James MacKenzie.

A DEDICATED pupil support assistant who helped hundreds of children over 29 years at Charleston Academy has been honoured at a farewell dinner.

Barbara MacLeod, who retired from her post this month, became renowned at the Inverness school for the quality of her work with youngsters with additional educational needs.

Much-loved by pupils and colleagues alike, Mrs MacLeod received gifts and flowers to mark the occasion at the city’s Redcliffe Hotel.

Richard Smith, principal teacher of additional support at Charleston, said: “Barbara is a highly-respected member of staff who, over 29 years, assisted so many pupils of all abilities and needs, helping them to get the best from their education,” he said.

“She has just got the most fantastic disposition with the children in getting to know them and bringing the best out in them. She has shown all the skills and qualities perfect for what is a very demanding role and has been a tremendous asset to the school and the whole community. She epitomises everything a member of staff should be.”

With dozens of people she worked with in attendance, Highland Council, the school and staff gave her gift presentations in recognition of her years of service.

“It was a lovely meal and it was lovely to see colleagues past and present. The Redcliffe did us proud,” Mrs MacLeod said.

“I can’t believe it is 29 years since I started. Somebody asked me if I would do it again and, yes, I definitely would. It is a very worthwhile job.

“I had a few retirement cards from ex-pupils as well. The lovely part is I still have ex-pupils from years back meet me in the street. The first thing they ask is am I still at Charleston, so I can now say ‘no, I’m retired’! But every one of them thanks you for helping them.

“It has been nice to try and help the kids reach their potential. It was very hard to give it up because I loved it so much, but it is the right time for me.”

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