Zoe King has spent her whole teaching career in Essex.

However after more than two decades, her new venture in September will be a little closer to home.

Miss King, who is currently headteacher at St Helena School in Colchester, will be leaving at the start of the next school year.

After seven years in post, she will be joining the Royal Hospital School in Suffolk, where she will be leading on Pastoral Care and Boarding.

It will be a totally different experience from what she has been used to, and she will be leaving a significant mark on St Helena School.

One of the first things she did at the school when she joined in 2011 was change the uniform.

Miss King, 46, said: "My first impressions of the school were very positive. It had a warm, friendly feel and there was a real sense of community. "Students and staff were very welcoming and very proud of their school.

"However, one thing that did not quite match the school’s ethos was the school uniform, it was polo shirts and sweat tops.

"This has been replaced with smart blue blazers and ties, with grey trousers and skirts."

She has been teaching for 24 years, with St Helena being her second headship.

Previously she worked in Basildon and in Chelmsford at the Boswells School - she started her teaching career in Clacton.

Over the years she has noticed many changes, more so at St Helena School.

She said: "Much has changed, in particular the facilities now available to our students.

"We have a wonderful state-of-the-art science and food technology teaching block.

"We secured a positive partnership with PlayFootball, which has enabled the school to have full access to their facilities during the school day, which have been built on the school playing field.

"We also have an amphitheatre and outdoor cover area."

The £2million science and technology block was the biggest financial investment the school had received since it was built about 80 years ago.

The new facilities were desperately needed.

Miss King said the money situation was one of the problems she has had to tackle.

She said: "As with any school, one of the biggest challenges faced is funding.

"However, as it is something out of our control, all we can do is ensure good value for money."

A bigger challenger perhaps, was to keep her vow of making sure the school went from strength to strength after education inspectors said it needed to improve.

Ofsted inspectors rated the school as requiring improvement in all areas back in 2013.

They said the school could not be classified as good because teaching was variable across subjects, and standards were not high enough in English, maths and science.

Miss King promised to turn the school around, and on reflection said it was the school's greatest achievement.

She added: "I think our proudest moment was securing the judgement of ‘good’ with Ofsted, first in June 2014 and then again in December 2017.

"It gave our students, parents, staff and the wider community the confirmation we are providing a quality education for the young people in our care."

It has been a challenge to bring the school out of tough times, but Miss King said she would not change a thing.

She is now looking forward to trying something different.

Miss King, from Suffolk, said: "I have loved working at St Helena School, it has been both a privilege and a pleasure. The schools has wonderful staff and fantastic students.

"I am leaving to undertake a new challenge, closer to home."

Fiona Pierson, current headteacher at Colchester Academy, will take over Miss King's role in September.