A devoted teacher of 40 years is retiring as head of a school in Bushey, saying one of her proudest achievements is seeing the school graded 'outstanding' by Ofsted inspectors.

Pauline Hannibal has been headteacher at Merry Hill School and Nursery for the past ten years and will retire at the end of this week.

The 60-year-old, who lives in Nascot Wood, said: "After discussions with my family I decided to retire.

"The last ten years have been exciting and successful and I have had the privilege to work alongside talented staff, committed governors, extremely supportive parents and wonderful, happy children.

"Merry Hill is a very special community and I know I will miss the constant buzz. However, the time has come for me to pass the baton on."

Mrs Hannibal has taught in Hertfordshire for 20 years, teaching at six primary schools before becoming head at Merry Hill.

The mother-of-two continued: "It has been a privilege to have been the headteacher of such an outstanding school as Merry Hill. In my opinion there is no infant school and nursery of such distinction and I count myself as extremely fortunate."

Along with achieving an outstanding Ofsted, Mrs Hannibal said she was proud of being able to make school experiences "positive."

She said: "We are like a village school, a little family. I will miss the school tremendously. It is never completely about a headteacher, it is about the team a head builds, and making sure everyone has the same ethos. This is something we do well at Merry Hill."

Mrs Hannibal added: "Parents have been asking me what I'm going to do next. I'm going to do a lot of things. I am going to travel to places I've always wanted to go to. I am going to read books that have been waiting on my 'must read' list for years. I will learn new skills, visit art galleries, enjoy being around family and friends."

Mrs Hannibal, who started teaching in 1974, added: "It will be hard to walk away, but I am excited to do other things.

"I want to pay tribute to my colleagues for their support and friendship over the last ten years. Merry Hill has always been about how we all support each other as a team rather than about any individual.

"I have mixed feelings about leaving such a great school and such great people. I will miss so many trusted friends, colleagues, parents, governors and, of course, I will miss the children.

"Merry Hill is about to enter a new phase. I hope I have given the school the platform to grow from strength to even greater strength. I am very confident about its future."

Nicola Perry, deputy headteacher at the school, said Mrs Hannibal has worked "relentlessly" to keep the school moving forward and helped it to be rated as outstanding by Ofsted in March 2009.

Ms Perry said: "Pauline has worked well with staff and parents and has always had an open door policy making everyone feel welcome."

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