TWO decades after declaring he was not going to be "one of those heads who stayed at a school for 20 years", John Skelton has retired from Norristhorpe School.
Mr Skelton started as deputy head at the junior and infant school 22 years ago. After four years he progressed to head teacher.
He left the school at the end of the summer term and will use his extra time to pursue his passion for outdoor activities such as rock climbing, cycling and mountaineering.
He said: "I thought 'I can't carry on doing everything, so something has got to go' – and that was work!
"I'm sure there will be a time when I miss being at the school, but I've known for some time that I was going to leave now and I have got plenty to do.
"I always thought I wouldn't stay here for the rest of my career, but by the time I thought about moving to a bigger school, I realised I was already at one of the biggest schools in the area so I made the decision to stay here."
He said the pupils were the most important part of the school."The children are always what makes teaching. They are what education is all about.
"They are what give you most pleasure and if teachers don't think that, then I'm not sure they should be in that career," Mr Skelton added.
To mark Mr Skelton's retirement pupils presented him with flowers, vouchers for a cycling shop and gifts they had made. Staff bought him an original Keith Mountain picture called Lakeland.
Mr Skelton's successor will be Sarah Armitage.