PARENTS of youngsters at a Tadley school have been left dismayed by the departure of a highly-regarded member of staff.

Nick Hicks, 35, has worked as an “Every Child Matters” co-ordinator at Bishopswood Junior School, Barlows Road for 12 years – supporting children at the school in a number of different ways.

The ECM programme was designed by the previous Government, to bring different agencies together to give children the best chances and to give support to parents requiring it.

Headteacher Glen Golding said Mr Hicks’ departure was a “mutual decision” brought on by the need for financial and strategic restructuring within the school.

He said: “It was a voluntary solution that Mr Hicks came to me with. The school needs to restructure to meet the needs of the children.

“A number of parents contacted me, expressing disappointment about his departure, and I have spoken with each of them about the situation.”

A parent, who did not wish to be named, said Mr Hicks’ departure would be a blow to the school. She said: “He’s completely irreplaceable. He has done such a huge amount for the children. Nothing was ever too much trouble for him.

“The impact he has had on the lives of my children and of others at the school was unbelievable.”

Mr Hicks, who said he would continue to work alongside the school, has since secured a new job at Burnham Copse Primary School, in Tadley, performing much the same role.

He said of his past employment: “I will miss it enormously but I’m also excited about taking on new challenges.

“The school (Bishopswood) has changed a great deal since I first started, and the need for my role has decreased.”

The announcement of his departure, made in early June, came just two weeks after Mr Hicks picked up an Unsung Hero Award at the Basingstoke A Place to be Proud of Awards for his voluntary work with children in Tadley, including running after-school activities and youth groups.