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A former student of Steeple Bumpstead Primary School has spoken of his pride after being named the new head of school.

Luke Howden initially returned to his old primary school two years ago to become deputy headteacher.

But after Mary Nicholls retired following a 35-year career in education, Mr Howden’s educational journey came full circle after he was appointed to lead the school.

He said: “I am hugely proud to become the new head of school. Ever since I was in Year 4 at Steeple Bumpstead Primary School, I knew I wanted to be a headteacher – and I knew I always wanted it to be here.

“There is a unique feeling and a family atmosphere within the school, which was fostered by Mary, and I just want to build on all that great work and community spirit.

“I have had such a warm welcome from all the parents and I think that relationship with families and parents is so important for a village school.”

Living at the time in neighbouring Helions Bumpstead, Mr Howden was a primary school pupil at Steeple Bumpstead during the early 2000s before moving to County High School in Saffron Walden and further education in London and Homerton College, Cambridge. He then spent six years at Thaxted Primary School before returning to Steeple.

Mr Howden, 30, said: “I have only ever had the fondest memories of my time at Steeple. I used to come back to the school on work experience and I always hoped I would work here permanently.

“The last couple of years have been great and there are still some familiar faces at the school. For instance, two members of the office staff were here when I was a pupil and I was even taught by one of the teachers who is still at the school now.

“I think that shows how special the school is – and why teaching is so important. I like the impact that people working in schools can have on children. We can be a really positive change.”

Within the role, Mr Howden will be supported by executive headteacher, Vicky Doherty, who oversees both Steeple Bumpstead and Kedington primary schools.