Autism school's 'guiding light' steps down

A TEACHER who has spent 24 years working with South Yorkshire’s autistic youngsters has retired.

A TEACHER who has spent 24 years working withSouth Yorkshire’s autistic youngsters has retired.

Linda Richards, was deputy principal at the Robert Ogden School in Thurnscoe, which she joined in 1988 when it was known as Storm House.

The school is run by the National Autistic Society and Linda has seen it expand from just 24 pupils to currently supporting 80 yougnsters with autism aged between 7 and 19. It is rated as “outstanding” by Ofsted.

Dr Jacqui Ashton Smith, the school’s executive principal, said: "Linda has always been a real guiding light at the school. She has been responsible for the school’s successful OFSTED inspections and she has played a key part in everything it has achieved over many years.

“Linda has been involved in local outreach projects and autism training across South Yorkshire, and she will be missed not only by staff and pupils at the school, but by colleagues in the wider education and autism sector.”

Linda said she was looking forward to retiring, adding: “I have many plans for the future, including spending time with my family, travelling, joining the National Trust, becoming a school governor and spending time in my garden. But I will miss the school immensely.  

“During my 24 years with the NAS, I have had many challenges and opportunities, and most importantly I have made memories which I shall cherish. I have seen many children mature and grow in confidence, and it has been a privilege to be part of such a dedicated team.”