After nine years as headteacher of St Laurence, James Colquhoun has nothing but praise and good wishes for the Bradford on Avon school and the people he has left behind.

Mr Colquhoun, 63, who has been head four times, retired on Wednesday and is looking forward to spending time with his four children and seven grandchildren.

“It has been a massive privilege to work in this community, alongside parents, employers, students and staff. As a team we have improved the school. I know I am going to miss everyone hugely.

“The qualities and credentials of our young people has been a great asset to St Laurence. But so too has the energy and imagination of the fabulous staff. The support from parents has been a crucial factor on our journey and for that, I am also grateful.

“Although the school has increased in size and the environment has been enhanced, the biggest change is the positive can-do attitude of students and staff alike.”

Mr Colquhoun, from Bradford on Avon, has set up his own education consultancy, which will focus on school improvement and leadership development. He will also join the Independent Monitoring Board at Bristol prison.

Mr Colquhoun is learning the art of dry stone walling and hopes to finally take sailing lessons so he can take his 14ft boat out on the water.

Mr Colquhoun’s wife, Terri, is also retired after a career in education. Having seeing their children travel around the world, they are keen to follow, with Boston being first on the list.

Fergus Stewart, the deputy head of Nova Hreod, Swindon, will take over in the new year, and Mr Colquhoun added: “We have been working hard together to ensure a smooth transition.”