Conifers School in Easebourne says goodbye to headmistress

Jenny Peel, retiring head teacher at Conifers, with pupils Jaden Darnell, 11, Sophie Howe, 11, and Finn Buckingham-Rhyder, 11, as they prepare for Madhurst. Picture by Kate Shemilt.C130910-1
Jenny Peel, retiring head teacher at Conifers, with pupils Jaden Darnell, 11, Sophie Howe, 11, and Finn Buckingham-Rhyder, 11, as they prepare for Madhurst. Picture by Kate Shemilt.C130910-1

PUPILS at Conifers School in Easebourne are bidding a fond farewell to much-loved headmistress Jenny Peel, who will be retiring after 25 years.

At an end-of-term speech day, Mrs Peel was presented with a large bunch of flowers, a collage featuring all the children in the school, and a wooden bench inscribed with the word Conifers, which will take its place in 
her garden.

She said: “I always tell my leavers to carry a little piece of Conifers in their heart when they go out in the world.

“And now it is my turn to do the same.”

Mrs Peel attributes her success to a supportive body of staff, parents and pupils.

She highlighted the importance of picking the right successor, and made clear just how much hard work was involved.

She said: “We were not just looking for a head teacher but the head teacher of Conifers.”

She added: “It has been a long search to find the right person and in Emma Smyth we know we have found her.”

Mrs Smyth, who will be taking over the helm at the school, lives in Haslemere with her husband and two teenage sons.

Prior to her new appointment, she was in charge of running the science and geography departments at Barrow Hills school in Surrey, where she also helped to develop their forest school programme.

She aims to maintain the family ethos within Conifers, while building on its continuing success and striving to move
forward.

The initial focus for the school now will be to develop sports facilities and place greater emphasis on specialist subject teachers.

Jennie Peel is also a trustee of the Weald and Downland Museum, as well as the Southover Manor Trust.

She says she will continue to teach privately at Conifers and is keen to get involved with other education initiatives.

At the celebratory day, speeches were dedicated to Jennie and her outstanding work over the years.

After handing out end-of-term prizes, school governor Mark Drysdale commended the long-standing leader for her ‘glowing skills as headmistress’.

Mrs Peel said: “Looking like a good headmistress is easy work when you are a reflection of great students and supportive parents.”

After addressing the school, the headmistress was given a standing ovation.