A familiar face is preparing to say farewell after nearly three decades of working in the offices at Moseley Park.
Mrs Patel will retire at the end of this week after first starting at the school in a part-time role in August 1988. She loved it so much that she stayed – briefly leaving for another job in 2000, only to return three months later because it wasn’t a patch on being at Moseley Park.
Current students will recognise Mrs Patel as the Attendance Administrator – who deals with pupils arriving late and leaving school during the day – but she has had many jobs during her time here. She said: “I have done a huge number of different things over the years, including being in the main office and in reprographics doing the photocopying. When I first started that, we didn’t use photocopiers, it was an old machine called a Gestetner, where you had to feed the paper in and keep turning a handle to make copies! I have enjoyed everything I’ve done here – but particularly the creative things, such as making booklets and posters for different departments.
“When I first came for the job there were three people interviewed for the post. Mrs Prosser – who retired two years ago – got the full-time position, but the school called me and offered me a part-time post in the TVEI – the Technical and Vocational Education Initiative – which involved sorting out work experience for students and other admin tasks. It soon progressed into a full time job and I did lots of different things around the school.
“After 12 years, I fancied a change, so I left and went to West Midlands Police to work with the fingerprint department. It seemed like an exciting job – I even got to go to Scotland Yard for training. But I didn’t enjoy it – it was a completely different environment to what I was used to in schools. I’d worked at Small Heath School in Birmingham before Moseley Park. So I left after a few weeks and came back to work here. I’d left Moseley Park at October half term and I was back by the end of January! I was very lucky to get some temporary work in the offices before I was eventually offered a full-time post in the July. It was great to be back.”
Life at Moseley Park has changed a lot during the last three decades. Mrs Patel added: “I’ve worked for five head teachers – Mr Satchwell, Mr Knight, Mrs McCarthy, Mr Elwiss and Mrs Holloway – and seen countless staff come and go over the years.” And she has already started to make lots of plans for her retirement. “There was a point when I thought I’d never retire, but I now I feel the time is right to go. I have two grandchildren aged five and three and I’d like to spend more time with them. I also like sewing and embroidery, so I’d like to get more into that again. I was once a member of a gym and I think I’ll definitely get more into that to keep myself fit and healthy. I’ve also always wanted to do flower arranging, so I might look at learning to do that and indulge my more creative side. It will be strange not to come here every day, but I will pop in to see how everyone is doing. I’ve made a lot of really good friends during my time in the office and I will miss them all.”