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Goodbye Mr Mitchell - you are a STAR!

We said goodbye to a wonderful member of staff today - Mr Phil Mitchell, our caretaker. Representatives of our Governors, FOWSA, School's Out & many others were there to wish him a long & happy retirement. I thought I'd share some of the assembly we held today to say 'Thank you' to him:


"Well, the next part of our celebration assembly is not about

Star of the Week


Star of the Month

Or even

Star of the Year

No, this is about someone who has been a STAR at Woodlands for the last 5 years…


Someone who we believe is a wonderful role model to everyone within our school. We have our school rules which show us all in Woodlands how we should behave – they apply to the adults in school as well as the children. The person I’m talking about follows our school rules to the letter – as I say a real role model.


This person:

  • We always use kind words & actions
  • We always listen to adults & each other
  • We are always well mannered & show respect
  • Always try  our best all of the time
  • We always look after our environment, school & everything in it – well this last rule couldn’t fit the person I’m talking about more perfectly; look after our environment, school & everything in it. Well that’s what Mr Mitchell has done for the past 5 years. He’s been in charge of looking after our environment, school & everything – including the children & the staff in it. His official title is Site Manager, but I think most people know him as our caretaker – that’s what he does – he takes care of us.

Sadly for us, Mr Mitchell has decided to retire. I say sadly for us, but for Mr Mitchell and his family it’s a lovely time: no more having to get up at an unearthly hour to come & open up Woodlands; no more having to get up in the middle of the night to come & check school’s ok because the alarm’s gone off at 3 o’clock in the morning; no more having to clean up sick when someone has thrown up in the hall…

He’ll have more time to spend with his family, his wife, children & grandchildren. But also more time doing the things he enjoys: walking in the Lake District for example, going on ridiculously long bike rides with his cycling club, Liverpool Century, or just pottering around growing vegetables at home.


As I say Mr Mitchell  is a great example to us all, not only about how to behave but how to approach our work as well; if we look at our Woodlands’ 5 we can see how – it’s not just children who learn at Woodlands it’s the adults too.

  • know how to make their work better

Mr Mitchell is always on the look out to see how he can improve the way he does his job, he’s never happy just doing a job that’s okay – he always wants to do a job to the best of his ability.

  • work well by themselves & with others

By the very nature of a caretaker’s job is sometimes having to get on by himself – Mr Mitchell does that – he has worked so hard, every single day – without someone having to tell him what to do, or chase him in order to get him to change a light bulb, or fix a broken door or even sometimes sort out flat tyres on teacher’s cars. Mr Mitchell also works well with others – he’s always cheerful, tho' less so if Liverpool lose, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him be grumpy. He has been wonderful to have in school. He is kind & helpful. He doesn’t complain if a member of staff asks him to do something. Put your hands up if you’ve ever fallen over, or tripped and hurt yourself, then come into school and Mr Mitchell’s looked after you.

  • want to find out more

If Mr Mitchell doesn’t know how to do something he’ll always find out how to do it – he’s always looking to increase his knowledge in order to be better at what he does.

  • know how to approach problems

As caretaker, Mr Mitchell never knows what’s going to happen in his school day: maybe the roof in Y1 has started to leak, or the boiler’s stopped working & the school is freezing, or a paving slab has become loose & someone may trip over it, or there’s a parent who’s driven to fast into the school car park & needs talking to, or the door to the brick store doesn’t shut properly & we haven’t got any money to buy a new one, or Mrs Dempster’s projector is not working again & no one else can sort it, or trying to work out why the drains have become blocked yet again – he ain’t afraid of no drains. Mr Mitchell has to work out what to do each time, whether he can fix it & how much it may cost.

  • stick at it

Maybe the most important Woodlands’ 5 of all. Stick at it. Don’t quit. Never give up. Keep on keeping on. It’s not in Mr Mitchell’s nature to not see a job or project through to the end.


We will all miss you so much. I don’t think there’s member of staff who has ever worked with a better caretaker – that’s an awful lot of years in total. Whether it’s making sure the school site is safe & secure or growing the peas in the allotment - you really have been a star."


Goodbye & Good Luck Mr Mitchell, everyone here at Woodlands wishes you a very happy retirement.