‘End of an era’ for Welwyn Garden City school as long-serving teacher leaves

PUBLISHED: 16:00 18 March 2018

Noel Kelly. Picture: Paul Whyatt

Noel Kelly. Picture: Paul Whyatt

CREDIT NEEDED

A teacher who has served a school in Welwyn Garden City for 42 years is taking his retirement.

Noel Kelly with colleagues. Picture: supplied by Monk's Walk SchoolNoel Kelly with colleagues. Picture: supplied by Monk's Walk School

If your parent or even your grandparent went to Monk’s Walk School, it’s quite possible they were taught by Noel Kelly, who first started teaching there in 1976.

In his 42 years of teaching, Mr Kelly has taught thousands of pupils in Welwyn Garden City.

He began as an art teacher and later climbed the ranks to become deputy head, teaching geography and A-level photography.

Mr Kelly said: “I think what’s driven me over the years is working with young people.

Noel Kelly with pupils. Picture: supplied by Monk's Walk SchoolNoel Kelly with pupils. Picture: supplied by Monk's Walk School

“That’s the most rewarding part of the job - it’s the great driving force.”

At 66, he had the opportunity to take retirement last year, but he said: “I enjoy the job so much, I felt like I had more to give.”

One of his great passions has been to organise school trips, particularly to New York and to the First World War battlefields.

“When we started doing that years ago, we had 27 kids,” he said. “Now you have approximately 150.”

Noel Kelly on one of the First World War battlefields trips in Ypres he organised for the school. Picture: supplied by Monk's Walk SchoolNoel Kelly on one of the First World War battlefields trips in Ypres he organised for the school. Picture: supplied by Monk's Walk School

Witnessing the dedication and the sacrifice of those soldiers has inspired so many people that it has been organised up to three times a year, and even parents sign up to join.

For Mr Kelly, ensuring pupils see and do things beyond the classroom is an important educational strategy. “When you’re there experiencing things, that’s how you learn.”

Headteacher Kate Smith said these are “experiences I know will stay with our students forever,” describing his departure as “the end of an era”.

She added: “Mr Kelly will be sorely missed by everyone associated with Monk’s Walk School, but we wish him a long and happy retirement.”

Noel Kelly with colleagues. Picture: supplied by Monk's Walk SchoolNoel Kelly with colleagues. Picture: supplied by Monk's Walk School

The world of teaching has changed enormously since the 24-year-old Mr Kelly took the helm in his first classroom.

“The quality of teaching now, it’s so much better, it really is.

“Now you have young teachers coming through and it’s got so much more professional.”

He says the days of smoke-filled staffrooms with gossiping teachers are over.

Noel Kelly with Alesha Dixon and Fearne Cotton. Picture: supplied by Monk's Walk SchoolNoel Kelly with Alesha Dixon and Fearne Cotton. Picture: supplied by Monk's Walk School

“Now teachers see this as time to get things done - they’re very dedicated.”

His most recent role has been to lead the school’s efforts behind pupils’ wellbeing.

Mrs Smith said: “He has done that brilliantly.”

Mr Kelly believes he is seen as “firm but fair” with the pupils. “I am seen as strict, but have rarely raised my voice.

“You get much more from kids by getting them on board and building up their self esteem.”

• If you would like to send Mr Kelly a message, please write to: MrKelly@monkswalk.herts.sch.uk.

The school will then make sure that he receives these messages on his retirement.

More news stories

A super slimmer has been named Welwyn Garden City’s ‘Woman of the Year’ 2018 after losing an incredible five stone in under a year.

Police are investigating following a crash this morning between Welwyn Hatfield and Wheathampstead which has put a motorcyclist in hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Nominations are now open for the Welwyn Hatfield Council awards that recognise extraordinary commitment and dedication made by people either working, volunteering or benefitting the community in some other way.

The founder of a treasured Welwyn Hatfield charity has outlined how its formation came about over 45 years ago.

Newsletter Sign Up

Welwyn Hatfield Times weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read stories

Show Job Lists

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards