SADDLEWORTH School's executive head teacher Matthew Milburn is leaving at the end of the summer term after nine years in the post.

He will depart on the school’s GCSE results day in August and is planning to take a gap year.

Announcing his decision, Mr Milburn, 54, said: “It will be really tough to leave the people and the school behind but now is the right time.” He wants to travel with his wife Leigh, and then, once “fully refreshed” he will think about future options.

The schools governing body have advertised for a headteacher to lead the school from September.

There are also personal reasons why Mr Milburn feels the time is right to move on.

His youngest son, Max, finishes university in May and his wife’s parents are both in Leicestershire, and the family plan to relocate to Rutland.

Mr Milburn has been involved in supporting Kingstone School in Uganda for the last 15 years and plans to continue as a mentor and adviser to the schools proprietor Mr Moses Nyanzi.

Mr Milburn said: “Leading a school is a privilege – there have been so many highlights over the last nine years, so many moments that feed the soul.

“Being a teacher is the best job in the world. To work with young people every day is life affirming. Too often children get a bad press and yet it is hugely empowering to see them develop and grow.

“ I started out as a drama teacher at Breeze Hill School in 1988 ands it’s been so lovely on parents’ evenings to meet former pupils who have chosen to send their children Saddleworth.”

He went on: “Just last week we heard from colleagues at Oldham Sixth Form College that some of our pupils have progressed to great universities.

“The sporting successes of our pupils have been extraordinary and who could fail to feel inspired by the concerts / presentation evenings that celebrate the hard work and talent of the children we serve.”

In a tribute, a former head boy at the school, Joe Wheeler, congratulating Mr Milburn on his years of service and dedication to the community, said:” Your commitment to creating a better learning environment for children of all background was admirable.

“And on a personal note for your support of both my work in the community and my academic lifestyle.

“I will always be grateful particularly for the week that I shadowed you which helped to solidify my desire to one day be a head teacher. If I can do half the job that you have then I’ll be fulfilled with my achievement.”