Teaching assistant retires after remarkable 41 years at same school

Staff at an Oldham primary school have paid tribute to a teaching assistant who has retired after an amazing 41 years. 

Zoe Dust (pictured), a valued and highly dedicated member of staff at Oasis Academy Clarksfield, says she has seen many years of positive change. 

During her incredible time at the Grasmere Road school, she has worked in every year group from nursery to year six. 

In 1975 Mrs Dust completed the NNEB (national nursery examination board) course. She has previously worked at Hodge Clough juniors until the job was advertised at the now Oasis Academy Clarksfield in 1979 in the local paper as the school was opening a nursery unit.

"There have been many changes at Clarksfield over my time working there, and I am sad to be saying goodbye," she said.

"However I’m looking forward to spending time with my husband and my family, getting back to doing some hobbies when the pandemic is more settled, and going on holiday and visiting friends. Having worked in schools for so long, it will be lovely to have some child free days to relax now." 

Staff at Oasis Academy Clarksfield paid tribute to Mrs Dust for serving the Oldham community for so long, and wished her well as she finally takes some time out for herself.

When Mrs Dust started at the Clarksfield Primary, the school used to have outside toilets for the whole school and the nursery was the first part of school to have them indoors.

Mrs Dust said the school used to be two separate ones at the time, Clarksfield infants downstairs and Clarksfield juniors upstairs. The year two classes used to have open fires to keep the classrooms warm.

Lauren Norris, Associate Principal at Oasis Academy Clarksfield, added: "At the end of last term, one of our longest serving Clarksfield family members decided to retire and enjoy a well-deserved rest!

“Mrs Dust worked at Clarksfield as a teaching assistant for an incredible 41 years and worked with many of our children who are now parents and grandparents!

“I am sure you will join me in thanking Mrs Dust for her commitment to the school, community and families of Clarksfield. Mrs Dust has helped many of our children over the years and has been part of the schools evolving journey from day one and will be deeply missed by us all.

“We wish Mrs Dust lots of happiness and best wishes for the future and look forward to inviting her back to see our school once the building works have finished.”

Oasis Academy Clarksfield is currently undergoing a full renovation, with additional space allowing the academy to expand into in the future as the school community continues to grow.

The development will also see the creation of new community spaces and an improved outdoor space for pupils and the local community to enjoy.

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