There were tears and smiles in equal measure at Great Waldingfield Primary School this week as headteacher Angie Jones retired.
Mrs Jones, who has been in charge at the school for nine years, said her goodbyes for the final time on Tuesday.
The 59-year-old said it felt strange to know her tenure was coming to a close but she was proud of her achievements and the help she had provided to thousands of youngsters.
“I will really miss the children,” said Mrs Jones. “There were quite a few tearful pupils on the last day.
“I have been getting lots of hugs because I am leaving and the school brings great stability to the lives of the children.”
Mrs Jones, who has been in teaching for 30 years and lives in Castle Hedingham, said she was pleased to depart the school with an “outstanding” Ofsted rating and having won the “Love Food Hate Waste” eco-award for sustainability last year.
“As we are an eco-school, that was a very big thing for us,” she said.
“I also went to the Houses of Parliament with two pupils in 2008 to talk to a committee about eco-schools. It is very important for politicians to set good role models in this throw-away world.”
Mrs Jones said she believed the school would continue to thrive under new headteacher Tina Hosford when she takes up the role in September.
“I wish her every success and the same for everyone else,” she said. “I will keep in touch with the staff as they are more than just colleagues and have become friends.”