LONG-SERVING headteacher Peter Jones is retiring after four decades in the profession.

The 63-year-old has spent the last 18 years in charge of Littlegarth School, in Nayland.

He started as head of PE at Holmwood House, in Lexden, in September 1981.

He then became deputy head in September 1995 before being appointed headteacher at Littlegarth in September 2003.

Mr Jones said: “Teaching is a special profession and it's been such a privilege to play a small part in the lives of so many special young people over the past 40 years.

"In my time at Littlegarth, the school gained a strong reputation for academic and all-round success.

"Between 20 and 30 per cent of the Year 6 children gained entry to local grammar schools each year, while over half the Littlegarth leavers have gained scholarship awards to independent senior schools over the past ten years.

"These results, combined with some outstanding inspection reports, have enabled Littlegarth to rise to the position of one of the foremost independent prep schools in the region."

Gazette: Much change - the main building at Littlegarth

Much change - the main building at Littlegarth

The school has grown considerably in Mr Jones' 40 years.

Littlegarth now boasts a new multi-purpose sports hall and four-acre woodland that houses an outdoor stage.

In January 2018, a new classroom block opened which incorporates six teaching rooms for Reception and Years 5 and 6, a library which houses a class computer room and specialist rooms for art, drama and music.

Gazette: New look - the new classroom block at Littlegarth

New look - the new classroom block at Littlegarth

"Just before lockdown, Littlegarth received a prestigious visit from the Good Schools Guide and the subsequent report highlights just what an outstanding school Littlegarth has developed into," added Mr Jones.

"The excellent report was based on evidence gained from the visit and interviews with a number of parents across the school community.

"It was a real achievement."

Kathy Uttley is taking over as head, following five years as head of Lorenden Prep School, in Faversham, Kent.

She has already met many children, parents and staff during her visits for sports day and various parents’ evenings in the summer term.

Gazette: New role - Kathy Uttley

New role - Kathy Uttley

She said: “I'm delighted to be leading Littlegarth from September and very much looking forward to my first day with all the lovely children, staff and parent community.

"I have been head of an IAPS Prep School in Kent for the last five years and very pleased to now be based on the Essex/Suffolk border and to be part of such a vibrant and happy school that Littlegarth clearly is.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone at the school and being part of the school's local community, finding out how we can work together."