THE new headteacher of Bishops Cannings Primary School says his aim is to make it the best it can be.

Jonathan Barber, 48, took over as head this month after six years as headteacher at West Ashton Primary School, Trowbridge.

He is following on from David Wade, who retired last summer after 24 years in charge and turned the school from a struggling primary into a thriving one.

Mr Barber said: “David has left me with a wonderful legacy, it’s a good place to move to.”

Mr Barber, who is married with four grown-up children, said he was attracted to Bishops Cannings because it is a church school.

He said: “This is a bigger school than West Ashton. The staff team is very close and well-knit, the children are wonderful and the school is in a fabulous location.

“The staff team works incredibly hard and there is a solid base to work on. I want to make this the best school I can, working alongside FRESH BLOOD: Jonathan Barber, the new head teacher at the staff, parents and governors.

“I’m very keen to work with the community to understand what they want. I want our school to be part of the community and would like them to think they can work with us.”

The school has 199 pupils, close to its capacity of 210. Mr Barber, a Londoner, became a teacher 13 years ago after serving in the Army for 13 years.

He was a soldier in the Coldstream Guards and served in Northern Ireland, London, Kenya, Cyrpus and Falkland Islands.

Near the end of his service he became an instructor for new recruits and, realising that his skills were transferable, did teacher training. After graduating he started his career in London.

He and his wife, Janet, moved to Wiltshire in 2003 where he became deputy head at Studley Green Primary School, Trowbridge, followed by his first headship at West Ashton. His wife was also a teacher at West Ashton until last July, when she retired, and she is now working part time for Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to teach children fire safety.

Nick Bancroft, chairman of governors at Bishops Cannings Primary School, said: “On behalf of the children, staff, parents and governors of Bishops Cannings School I extend a warm welcome to Mr Barber. He comes to Bishops Cannings with a wealth of experience.”