By Nigel Slater 20/07 Updated: 26/07 11:47
NEXT month signals the end of an era for Prince Henry's High School when its long-serving headteacher officially retires.
Bernard Roberts, who has been the head of the Victoria Avenue school since 1993, will ring the bell on his career at the end of August.
During his 19-year reign, Mr Roberts has led the school to outstanding Ofsted ratings. He will be replaced by Tony Evans ahead of new term in September.
Mr Roberts told the Observer it was a huge honour to have been the school's headteacher.
"Aside from the most important thing in my life being a husband and a father, being the head of Prince Henry's High School has been the most significant thing in my life," he said.
"I will probably get emotional when I walk out of the door for the very last time but I feel this is the right time to retire.
"I'll certainly miss the privilege of coming to work and being with the colleagues that I want to be with and being with young people that I look forward to seeing everyday.
"Being able to walk around the school, go into classrooms and watch people learn with brilliant teaching going on is an absolute privilege."
Mr Roberts felt the purpose of education had not changed much during his time at the school but said constant changes to exam syllabuses proved difficult to cope with.
"To say education education has changed can be quite misleading because children are still children and they still have the desire to do well," he added.
"Youngsters still need to learn and to have support, so from point of view there has not been a lot of change.
"But there have been huge changes in terms of the exams syllabuses and in my view they have been changed far too often and that has been a real burden for the teaching staff.
"There is no doubt in my mind technology has altered things and we now teach more information technology than we have ever done before.
"Devices like mobile phones and iPods can lead to children being more self-absorbed and they can cut themselves off a little bit easier than they used to be able to do. But overall most children do want to engage with school."
Once he completes his last remaining jobs at his desk, Mr Roberts said he plans to spend more time with his family and will enjoy the chance of getting some regular exercise.
"There are a lot things me and my wife want to do when my retirement starts. We have three grown-up children so we will be paying them some visits.
"I'll also try to improve my pathetic levels of golf and I'm a keen linguist so I want to improve my Spanish and Italian as well as learn Portuguese," the respected headteacher added.
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