Hello everyone, it’s Mrs Cunningham here again.

This is my last letter and it goes out to all of my Mortimer family, every single one of you, staff, governors, parents and most importantly my Mortimer children.

Thank you to my fantastic staff who have worked tirelessly since March. Coming to work when the streets and the roads are empty is scary. When the rest of the world appears to be in lockdown and being stopped by police for simply driving into work really makes you question what exactly you are walking into. But you have done it. All of those who have had worries of their own: whether it’s their own health, or elderly parents, their own vulnerable children or relatives. Some who have cancelled their own weddings or their children’s weddings, others who have missed their own or their children’s big birthdays celebrations and graduations. Some who haven’t been able to access vital treatment, some who have found financial difficulties because of the loss of their partners jobs and sadly and most importantly, some of those who have lost loved ones. All of those who have walked the streets of South Shields in their own time to put packs through doors!! All of my staff who just turned up each day and put a smile on, in the face of adversity for the sake of the ones that matter… the children. Many of whom have finished work here to only go home and start to home school their own children. You have all missed out on all holidays and bank holidays with your families. Also, to my staff who have worked remotely and have been isolating and kept on going. Thank you to you all.

Last Friday’s round of applause will literally last with me forever! So unexpected and so overwhelming!

To Mr Bennett, my fabulous deputy who is not only my voice of reason and sounding board, but supports me so very well, and also makes my ideas just happen with the line, “Tell me how I can help.” I have no idea how he managed the logistical nightmare of phase 3! He has kept everyone updated with messages and posts, well after work time and well into his own family time. He honestly has so much patience! Thank-you Mr B, I’ll not mention my phase 4 idea! 😂 So much appreciated.

Mrs Peacock, who has made so many phone calls and been there for me when I needed her most. She has made me laugh when I have felt so sad💕. We have literally laughed and cried together. Our Co Op trips and a couple of teachers’ pop nights have been a highlight.

Miss Middleton, for her never ending support (not just for lock down but for the entire last 26 years), as always❤️ and answering texts and phone calls from me well into the night. The person who I just know will always be there for me.

Mrs Stelling for diligently putting all my 70+ letters on fb, proof reading and adding a picture.

To Mrs Herbert and Mrs Grant who ran teams 5 and 6 so well.

Miss Kirkley and Mrs Brown, my own virtual office, who have possibly used up all their minutes on phone calls for school.

To Mr Clark, who has turned into work everyday with a smile on his face and a cheery “good morning” each and every day… so much appreciated. (Too many holidays accrued to ever roll over!!)

Mrs Davies in the kitchen, who has provided hot and cold lunches to have in and take out, and has just got on, again with no holidays.

My Chair of Governors, Rob Lloyd, whose cool head is what I have needed on many occasions, and my super governing board who have been through this tricky journey with me. Best governing board in the world!!

Jane, our school nurse, who has brought her expertise, advice, support and personality to us along this journey.

Then to the staff who have kept me going with their never ending support. Funny messages and lock down videos, you know who you are, and to those lovely staff who have sent me weekly messages, gifts, cards, and even bottles of teachers pop on a Friday, and those snatched ‘well done’ and ‘how are you?’ conversations in the corridor mean so much to me. I love everyone of you who have done that…you have kept me going. You possibly don’t even know what those tiniest conversations have meant in this most difficult of situations.

Now to my lovely Mortimer mams and dads and nanas and grandas. What can I say? Thank you for all of your support. I’ve had to make some tough decisions during lock down. I have made every single one in the best interests of your children. They are ultimately at the heart of everything I do and every decision I make.Thank you for all the gifts you have sent in. Biscuits, ice cream, flowers, Ringtons hamper, pictures, tea and coffee, pizza, Thai curries and strawberries and cream and Fenwicks Foodhall gifts. And for all the hundreds of emails and messages. There is absolutely nothing better after a tough day, coming home to read a message of support. Or a lovely morning message. Again, you know who you are. Every single one means so much and I will remember each and every one fondly. I am so lucky to be head of a school with such fantastic and supportive parents. …and a huge thank you to those of you who relentlessly’liked’ my head teachers letter everyday. I know who you are.👍.

A massive thank you to my key worker mams and dads who ‘just got the signing in’, and then went off to do their thing. You have seen me in all weathers and in all emotions! Every single conversation I had with you remains with me. (H C or T? ham, cheese or tuna)

Now to the most important lot. All My Mortimer children.
There are lots of you and every single one of you is important to me. You have brought a new resilient light to my life and a ‘Just Do It’ attitude. Fantastic little people. From my nursery children all the way to Y6. You are all superstars. You have gone through something that neither me or your mams and dads have ever needed to go through. You have done it. A feather in your cap and an experience that hopefully has had a positive effect on you as you grow into adults. You have so definitely earned the pandemic lock down badge of honour. You are strong, courageous, resilient and a complete inspiration to us older lot who have never gone through anything like this. I’m so, so proud.

You know that my daily letters are there to keep you going, but WOW, you have kept me going too. I have loved all your comments on social media, all your activities and we even made the Gazette. Your parents have all done fantastic things at home with you. You have got up to so many super things.

I just know you are going to grow into strong, fearless and courageous adults.

So, signing out from COVID-19. Much love.

From your extremely proud head teacher, Mrs Cunningham.xx