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‘Inspirational’ headteacher steps down after eight years in charge

PUBLISHED: 15:55 20 October 2017

Karen Sancto with pupils of Trinity Primary School on her final day. Picture: Emma O'Brien.

Karen Sancto with pupils of Trinity Primary School on her final day. Picture: Emma O'Brien.

Emma O'Brien

The opening of a new school, the number of pupils increasing eight-fold and creating great community ties – it is fair to say Karen Sancto’s time as headteacher at Trinity Primary School has been eventful.

On Thursday, however, she left her post in Portishead after more than eight-and-a-half years in the role.

Karen opened the school on February 4, 2009, and has been ever present as the school has grown. It started with 60 pupils but as the town has got bigger – and the population in the surrounding marina area has soared – so has the school. Now, it boasts 480 students.

Karen will become an education advisor for the Bath and Wells diocese but her contribution to Trinity has been recognised.

Emma O’Brien, a teaching assistant, said: “Karen is someone who you immediately warm to.

“Her relaxed and approachable style of leadership has meant she has built up close relationships with the children and staff alike.

“She is supportive to the staff and children and is always available to listen.

“What impressed me when I first started at Trinity, was Karen knew every child’s name and she still does. She takes an interest in everyone and she will be greatly missed.”

Karen was given a fitting send-off yesterday (Thursday) and was surprised by a school celebration service.

Songs were sung, gifts given and poems written to commemorate her years as headteacher.

There was an angel theme as they are close to her heart and pupils decorated an angel which was used to decorate the hall.

Caitlin Christopher, a phase leader, described Karen as a ‘very special lady’.

She said: “When I was lucky enough to secure my first job here at Trinity everyone I met said ‘the headteacher there is an inspiration’ and how right they were.

“Karen goes above and beyond and is always there – both for pupils and for staff.

“Her caring and compassionate ways are truly going to be missed but we are so fortunate that she has touched the lives of so many lucky children and members of staff throughout her time here.”

Higher level teaching assistant Verity Huntley added: “Karen always helps bring out he best in both children and staff.

“She’s really supported my professional development and always has a listening ear.”

Sandy Nickells has been appointed as an interim headteacher.

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