AFTER ten years at the helm, a headteacher of a high school is taking early retirement.

Mark Jackson, 58, who is the head of Haslingden High School has been in teaching for 36 years.

He has worked in five Lancashire schools including Fearns Community Sports College, Stacksteads, The Hollins Technology College in Accrington and Habergham High School in Burnley.

After what has been an extremely tricky 16 months in education, he has praised the support the school has had from staff and parents.

Mr Jackson said: “I have decided to retire because it just felt the right time for school and the right time for me.

“There have been lots of challenges, but the job is incredibly rewarding and without doubt it always a real pleasure seeing the students getting their rewards at the end of Year 11 and Year 13. I absolutely love attending school on exam results morning.

“What this school also offers though is a fantastic array of extra-curricular activities. We have national sporting champions, superb music whether it be the Grade 9 pianist in the school concert or the Year 7 just learning and over 100 doing the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme each year.”

New headteacher Russell Clarke, 39, from Burnley, had his first taste of leadership at Hameldon Community College as head of year and then assistant head and was an assistant head at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School for a further four years.

He said: “At Haslingden I have felt part of a family and there is always work to be done in a school with 1,600 students.

“We have very supportive families and absolutely brilliant staff and we have seen that throughout the pandemic. When the staff all come together, there is nothing we can’t achieve. I am really excited for the students to be returning in September to something that will feel more like a normal educational experience."