STUDENTS returning to school after the summer holiday learnt that their headteacher is to retire at the end of this academic year.

Mark Thomas, head of Brymore Academy, a unique state boarding and day school in Cannington, will have been at the helm for more than 14 years when he leaves at the end of July 2024.

During his time at the school he has seen it improve from the bottom 10 per cent of schools nationally for progress to being in the top 10 per cent.

And the school is now more than double its size which has been the most oversubscribed state school in the county for a number of years.

Describing his headship at Brymore, Mr Thomas said: "It has been an honour and a privilege to lead this special school and, whilst it was a very hard decision to make, I know it is time to pass the baton on to someone else to lead it for another decade or so."

Jason Gunningham, chairman of governors for Brymore and assistant principal at Bridgwater and Taunton College, said: "We were all very sad to hear the news that Mark wishes to retire, but are fully behind his desire to spend more time with his family.

"Mark is an outstanding headteacher and the school has been so lucky to have him for such a long time ensuring that outcomes for the students has been above and beyond what they might have achieved elsewhere, all whilst leading successful Ofsted visits in both education and boarding.

"I am so grateful for all he has done and by giving us plenty of notice of his impending retirement it allows us the opportunity and the time to find the most capable candidate to replace him."

Mr Thomas has committed to working tirelessly throughout the next year and is as committed as ever to ensure that the school continues to be at the top of its game for all the current and future Brymore boys.