College quartet to retire after 100 years’ teaching

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Staff reporter

TEACHERS with a combined service of 100 years have taken retirement from Shrewsbury’s Concord College.

The Acton Burnell-based college has said farewell to Jennifer O’Shea, longest serving with 34 years, Ruth Upsall with 25 years, Andrew King with 20 years and Kevin Madden with 13 years.

Jennifer joined the college in 1977 after teaching in Essex and Gwent.

She initially came to Shropshire to teach horseriding, but accepted a job as a geography and English teacher at Concord’s new girls’ college at Attingham Park.

She moved to Acton Burnell where she also kept horses when the colleges merged in the 1980s.

She has been involved in drama writing and directing many plays and pantomimes for students to perform and plans to do more writing in her retirement.

Ruth, 61, has been a biology teacher at Concord, said: “I am very passionate about science and biology in particular and the opportunity to initiate receptive and intelligent students into its wonders has been very rewarding.”

Andrew, 60, who was head of science, has been resident on campus at Acton Burnell where his wife Aileen has been housemother to 40 of the senior girls.

Andrew, who has been at Concord since 1991 said: “It has been a very satisfying and fulfilling career.

“The students are so polite, intelligent and focused that it has allowed me to develop my teaching.

“When students express their gratitude for your efforts, and tell you how much they have enjoyed your classes and have even developed a love for the subject, that is truly satisfying and makes it all worthwhile.

“They have been a constant source of inspiration and encourage you to strive to improve and develop professionally.

“Also, teaching in the stunning surroundings of Acton Burnell Hall has been a constant joy so it is with very mixed emotions that I say farewell to Concord.”

Kevin, 60, said teaching history and economics at Concord had given a ‘particular flavour’ to lessons.

“I remember a form three class on the Russian Revolution being excitedly interrupted by little Arthur Usupov when we were looking at the role of Rasputin.

“He suddenly exclaimed: ‘Sir, sir, my great great grandfather killed Rasputin!’ and it transpired he had. Incidents like this are partly what make Concord such a unique learning environment.”

He has also been the college co-ordinator to prepare students to apply for Oxford and Cambridge University places.

See full story in the Leader

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