A COMMITTED cleaner was given a fitting send-off by staff and pupils at the school she calls a 'second home'.

Janet Rhodes retired on Thursday after spending more than three decades cleaning Hailey Primary School, near Witney.

The 71-year-old was treated to a special assembly and party, which was attended by several ex-pupils and former staff.

Read again: Oxfordshire's worst performing schools revealed

Mrs Rhodes leaves after spending almost 40 years cleaning West Oxfordshire schools, with six years at The Henry Box School, Witney, preceding her time at Hailey.

She was born and bred in the village and went to the school herself, along with her sisters and sons, and revealed it would always hold a special place in her heart.

Witney Gazette:

The Hailey resident said: "It's just such a community school, it's like a second home."

"I'll miss the children most. They leave and the next time we see them is when they're grown up at 18 or 19-years-old.

"Even at that point they still call me Mrs Rhodes."

When Mrs Rhodes announced her intention to retire at the end of January, staff felt it was only right to celebrate the cleaner's service to the school.

Read again: Successful A-Level results for Henry Box

She was a friendly face to hundreds of teachers and pupils over the years, who recognised her as a constant of school life.

Mrs Rhodes was always a popular figure and this was evident on Thursday, with one ex-headteacher even joining the party.

The festivities began with an assembly in the afternoon, where children sang songs and read messages to say a personal goodbye to Mrs Rhodes.

Read again: Witney day centre holds party for first anniversary

The cleaner gave each of the school's 105 pupils a small cake, but she was blown away by the gift she received from students.

Mrs Rhodes was given a card and a picture featuring the fingerprints of every single pupil, which proved overwhelming.

She said: "It was such a surprise and I'm still in shock.

"I can't quite get over what the children did for me, it was absolutely brilliant."

Witney Gazette:

Mrs Rhodes admitted she had not yet given much thought to what she would do in retirement, but she will surely be welcome at her former workplace whenever she likes.

The school is only a short walk for the Hailey resident, who has been married for more than 50 years and has lived in the village her whole life.

Headteacher, Debbie Davies, paid tribute to a figure who always turned up for work, whatever the weather.

Read again: School playground gets £1,000 boost

She said: "She's one of those people whose commitment to the school needed to be recognised.

"She's been here every morning and afternoon for the last 31 years.

"When it was snowy and icy, she'd be here gritting the path.

"She was very much part of the school community and will be really missed."