PUPILS have said goodbye to headteacher Roy Durrant after 26 years of him being in charge.

Mr Durrant, 63, called it a day on Friday last week at St Mary's School in Amersham and admits he does not know what he is going to do.

A reception with 150 guests was held at the school, in School Lane, to mark Mr Durrant's departure and letters were read from Education Secretary Charles Clark and the Bishop of Oxford the Rt Rev Richard Harries.

Long-serving Mr Durrant, who has taught for 42 years, said: "I really have not had the time to think or sort anything out. We are both so busy. My wife and I have not been able to plan what we are going to do."

Mr Durrant says he will miss teaching but will keep in touch with the classroom ongoings as his wife and daughter teach at St Mary's.

Mr Durrant said: "Never again I am going to have 300 children singing hymns at the start of the day.

"I am really going to miss being inspired by talking and teaching children every day."

The headteacher, who met his wife Bronwyn at St Mary's, said he is proud of work achieved at the school in his time.

He said: "I have seen the school develop. It has increased the number of children it has taken. We have new buildings and now we have children using laptops around the school."

There have been lows as Mr Durrant points to a "horrendous time" after a blaze destroyed part of the school 12 years ago.

Mr Durrant praised those who backed the school including the Free Press.

He said: "You (the Free Press) have been very supportive to us for many years.

"And almost every morning and evening the parents are there and that is the strength of the school."

Mr Durrant hopes his pupils have enjoyed their time at St Mary's.

He said: "Ofsted said that children are happy here. That is what I hope for, that everybody is looking reasonably happy and successful when they walk out of the school gates."

His desire to help form Amersham's next generation has kept the headteacher in the job for so long. He said: "I hope I have developed the children's passion for living and the love of education."