A teaching assistant given an honour after working at a Havering school for 53 years has criticised school management after being made redundant.

Frances Johnson, who worked at Dame Tipping CofE Primary School in Havering-atte-Bower for 53 years, received a British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours List for services to education.

But this was just months after the 84-year-old was laid off in July before the school's 300-year anniversary.

The Havering-atte-Bower resident of 63 years, who started work at the school in 1970, said she loved every minute there but was upset at the manner she was let go.

"This year it will have been 300 years the school will have been going," Frances said. "Now I think they could've kept me on until after this."

She said that the school had historically been a family-run village school, but claimed it had changed after becoming an academy.

"As soon as it's changed to an academy, it's not a school anymore," she said. "Most academies are money-making machines."

RELATED NEWS: Brentwood school changes 80% of staff after poor Ofsted

Romford Recorder: Frances was a teaching assistant at Dame Tipping CoFE Primary School for 53 yearsFrances was a teaching assistant at Dame Tipping CoFE Primary School for 53 years (Image: Google)

Despite this, Frances said she missed colleagues at Dame Tipping.

"We're still friends and we're still going to get together," she added.

Frances now volunteers at Mead Primary School in Romford two mornings a week and, despite feeling hard done by after her redundancy, said she was happy in her new role.

When asked what has kept her going over decades of change, Frances said: “You just go with the flow - whatever happens you just go along with because that’s what you have to do.

“My advice used to be - do your job and do it well. That’s it.”

However, Frances said she was wary of some changes in teaching.

"Kids should be happy in school," she said. "They should have a bit of fun instead [of it's] all 'work, work, work' these days."

Frances said that she started work at Dame Tipping when her daughter was a pupil there.

She began with an hour a day, then her time increased until she was offered a permanent role and spent all her career there.

Though Frances said she had many lovely years at the school, she said she did not want to retire but felt redundancy was inevitable because of her age.

“They called all the assistants together and said 'we’re looking for voluntary redundancy'," she said. “I thought it has got to be me hasn’t it - as old as I am.

“I thought I might as well accept the redundancy."

Despite this, Frances reflected fondly on her years at Dame Tipping and teaching kids.

"I miss the children," she said. "I had all those lovely years - I loved every minute of it."

The LIFE Education Trust, on behalf of Dame Tipping CofE School, said the decision to implement redundancies was not taken lightly.

"We want to emphasise that the decision was made with careful consideration of various factors and was certainly not a reflection of the value we place on her long-standing service.

"It was driven by the evolving needs and challenges faced by the school, particularly in light of the challenging financial landscape that all publicly funded schools are navigating.

"The process was conducted with utmost care and adherence to the legal requirements and best practices.

"Dame Tipping has been shaped by the dedicated efforts of people like Mrs Johnson, and she will always be a cherished part of its history," it added.