A POPULAR head teacher at a Stroud secondary school has retired after 13 years.
Colin Belford had been head at Archway School since 2007.
In a letter to parents written on his last day at work (Thursday) Mr Belford said that leaving would be a ‘huge wrench’, and that he felt lucky to have been a part of the school.
He said: “Whenever I reflect on year groups as they leave the school each year I am always filled with optimism as I imagine the wonderful contributions they will make to the world as they forge their own lives. As I leave the school today, I have that sense more than ever as I think about the wonderful young people it has been my privilege to work with.
“Archway has been a huge part of my life for twenty years since I moved here as Deputy Head and I could not have felt more honoured than being appointed Headteacher 13 years ago.
“Leaving Archway today for the last time will be a huge wrench, but my decision to retire will open up new challenges and opportunities for me as it will for the school.
“I did not imagine, growing up in Newcastle, Leeds and Middlesbrough, that my career path would bring me to Gloucestershire and ultimately to Archway.
“I can say however that I do not feel that I would have found alternatives more rewarding. I have spent 37 years in education – a year at a school in France, six years at Severn Vale School, ten years at Central Technology College in Gloucester and the rest here at Archway.
“I consider myself very lucky to have worked with so many talented individuals – students, staff and governors during that time.
“I have always enjoyed coming to work and there is never a day goes by when I do not see those talents on display.
“I am disappointed that some of our students have missed out on the traditions associated with their last year in school and feel so sorry that the examinations for which they had prepared have been disrupted.
“I hope that their resilience and personalities will carry them through and that they will still strive to follow their dreams and pursue their ambitions.
“I would like to thank you for all your support and kindness over the years which, along with the wonderful young people we work with, has made my time here so enjoyable.
“I wish you all good health and well being, now and in the future.”