A DEDICATED teacher who has set countless children on the path to success, inspired one young pupil to follow in her footsteps.

Cristi Barry, who attended Laindon Park Primary School, was full of admiration for maths teacher Lynn Martin as she was growing up and says Mrs Martin was everything she thought a teacher should be.

Cristi is now a fully-fledged teacher who has taken up a post at St Anne Line Catholic Junior School, in Basildon.

She returned to Laindon Park school in 2010 as a teaching assistant, having left as a pupil in 1999 and was delighted to find Mrs Martin still teaching there.

Cristi said: “It was nice to know she still recognised me.

After spending some time at the school the headteacher said I would make a good teacher and would I consider taking part in the graduate teacher programme.

“All I had considered doing before that was a speech and language therapy course, but I had loved my time so much that it seemed a great idea.”

Mrs Martin, who has been a teacher at the school since 1992, said Cristi, like so many of her students, was a bright spark.

She said: “I want to make my subjects exciting for the pupils as it’s the best way to learn.

“Cristi was a lovely child and worked very hard in her school days. I taught her for two years and she was always looking to achieve. When she came back as an assistant I was very pleased to see her and it became clear straight away she had what it takes to be a teacher.

“Even after she got her job at St Anne Line in 2012 she was always popping in to see us to share resources, which is lovely.”

After studying at Harlow, Cristi was hopeful of securing a job at her old school.

However, the school, which only has six teachers, was not looking for a full-time teacher and she instead got a role at St Anne Line.

She said: “I was gutted at the time, as everyone had been so good to me and I would have loved to go there, but I am so grateful to St Anne Line for offering me a position.

“The school has given me so much and I hope to pay back the faith they have shown in me.”

Thanking the teachers at Laindon Park for helping her take the first steps on the teaching ladder, she added: “It is such a wonderful school and I am so lucky to have done my work experience there.

“The school is very small and I am sure its students will go on to achieve great things.”