Kirkby headteacher calls time after 13 years in the job

"Once an Orchard boy, always an Orchard boy".

This is the message of Rob Cook, the retiring headteacher of Kirkby's Orchard Primary School who is calling time after 13 years in the job.

Orchard Primary and Nursery School's head teacher Rob Cook is pictured with some of his pupils before retiring after 13 years at the school.

Orchard Primary and Nursery School's head teacher Rob Cook is pictured with some of his pupils before retiring after 13 years at the school.

Mr Cook, 59, who started at the school in 2006 after two previous roles as head teacher, initially took the job to "settle down", but says from the minute he walked into the school it "felt like home".

Since Mr Cook started at the school it has been rated as 'Outstanding' in five different inspections, including by both Ofsted and Nottinghamshire County Council, with the retiring headteacher saying it is a "mark of pride" that the school has remained "so consistent".

To celebrate his time with the school, staff, pupils and parents organised a party for Mr Cook last week before he and his colleagues went for leaving drinks to toast his new chapter.

He said: "It has all been quite emotional. Last week was incredibly busy meeting with governors, having a retirement party and taking part in a charity bike ride to raise a legacy fund for the school.

"Leaving the school is very much a mixed emotion because I now get to spend a lot more time with my wife, grandchildren and my own children, and I'm planning to get out on my bicycle and spend more time on the golf course.

"My son has also just got his qualifications as an electrician, and we're planning to buy a house and embark on a big restoration project.

"So on the one hand I can't wait, but as it gets closer I have parents and children giving very emotional farewell messages, so it's going to be a real wrench to leave.

"When I arrived here I had been a headteacher at two schools and wanted to settle down, but as I walked into the school it immediately felt like home.

"It's also a mark of pride that every inspection we've had has been 'Outstanding' since I arrived, and about four weeks before I retired I organised an inspection to see what level we're at - which again was 'Outstanding'.

"The inspector, who has inspected hundreds of schools, said we are 'as strong as any school' he has visited in the country.

"One of the teachers, Teresa Austin, is also retiring this week and we've remained great friends since I arrived here, so the lumps in our throats will be huge.

"The whole staff are brilliant and for the last week the atmosphere has been so positive. My staff may be my colleagues but will also remain my friends."