A headteacher who has turned a school into one of the greenest in the country has stepped down after 15 years.
Peter Johnson has been praised for creating an environmental legacy at Birdham Primary School, which now has a number of unique sustainable facilities.
Two special assemblies were held to mark Mr Johnson’s retirement and to wish him well for the future.
“I have had a lively career. My last week was an emotional rollercoaster,” Mr Johnson said. “There was genuine love and affection from staff, children, parents and members of the community. That really humbled me.
“I have always been proud and privileged to work at this school. I have a huge pile of cards waiting for me. I was trying to hold back the tears on my last day. I left the school with much sadness but I am not at all regretting leaving all that paperwork behind.”
Mr Johnson joined the school in May 1997, a day after Tony Blair became Prime Minister. Before joining Birdham he had been a deputy headteacher at Kingsham Primary School.
Mr Johnson said he joined the teaching world late after working in agriculture for 11 years.
He said he will enjoy ‘getting his life back again’ as he plans his retirement. He hopes to put all gift money received from parents and governors towards an electric bicycle so he can be an ‘Eco Warrior’ and do a bit of sight-seeing.
He added: “I want to go to as many museums in London that I have taken children to on trips over the years. Therefore I have hardly seen any of them.”
During his time at the school in Crooked Lane, an ‘Eco Centre’, community orchard, a poly tunnel and a swimming pool enclosure with pool solar panel heating to name but a few projects have all been installed at the school.
Mr Johnson added: “Our resources are second to none. I am very proud of the school’s legacy of sustainability and getting children to care for themselves, for others and for the environment.”
Mark McCadden has been named as Mr Johnson’s successor.