A HEADTEACHER who steered hundreds of Marlow Bottom youngsters through infant school is to retire after 18 years in the role.

Andrew Bowie, 59, will step down as head at Burford School, in Marlow Bottom Road, at the end of term.

Mr Bowie, who lives in High Wycombe, has been in charge at the school since 1988 and worked as a headteacher for 25 years.

He is looking forward to a long break with his wife and to simply relax for a while.

He said: "I am looking forward to retirement very much but obviously it will take place amongst some feelings of sadness.

"I will miss all of the people grown ups and children but there are some aspects of the job I will not miss much at all."

He said one of the highlights of his time at Burford was being able to persuade the authorities to extend and improve facilities at the school for future pupils.

He is also proud of the team of teachers he has helped to develop, who have given support and encouragement to the youth of Marlow Bottom, aged five to 11.

Mr Bowie started his teaching career in Hillingdon, becoming a deputy head in just four years. He spent many years teaching in that area, then moved to Uxbridge and Iver before taking his first headteacher job at a school in Chorleywood in the early 80s.

He has spent the first two thirds of his life in education and intends to steer clear of the classroom in the future.

He said: "We have no definite plans for the future at this stage. There is plenty to do in the garden and at home so I have no plans to go back to teaching."

A future in children's literature could be on the distant horizon but for the moment Mr Bowie and his wife, who has also retired from teaching this year, want to take a long holiday to shake off the feel of the school year and see the world.