A HEADTEACHER who has left a 'legacy' for young learners will leave to take the helm at a neighbouring school.

John Marston is due to leave St Birinus School in Didcot at the end of the academic year, and has announced his new role come September will be as head of Wallingford School.

Governors have announced that William Manning, who is currently deputy headteacher of St Birinus's sister school Didcot Girls', will take his position at St Birinus.

In December Wyll Willis, currently head at Wallingford, announced his retirement and told parents he hoped to spend more time with his family.

His successor Mr Marston has been in charge of St Birinus for four years, and saw the school through its 'good' Ofsted and an impressive set of GCSE results last year.


Former head steps down from secondary school after 20 years

Rachael Warwick, chief executive of the Ridgeway Education Trust, which runs St Birinus and Didcot Girls' School, said: "I am sincerely grateful to Mr Marston for the work he has led over the last four years and the excellent legacy he leaves behind him. I wish him all the very best for his new post.

"I look forward to the future and to continuing to work closely with Mr Manning as he leads St Birinus School to further success."

Mr Marston will also become chief executive of the Merchant Taylors' Oxfordshire Academy Trust, which runs Wallingford School, as well as headteacher.

His successor Mr Manning said: "I am absolutely thrilled and very proud to be offered the opportunity to lead St Birinus School as headteacher into the next phase of its journey to becoming an outstanding school.

"The chance to work in an all-boys context in a community that I know well, with all the benefits of a mixed sixth form on site, and to be supported by an inspiring group of staff, is hugely exciting."

The keen sportsman lives near Witney with his wife and three children.

He already knows St Birinus as he works there two days per week in his capacity as deputy head at its sister school.

He graduated from King's College London with a degree in French and Latin in 1994, and left university to pursue Arabic studies in Egypt and then work in industry, before completing a PGCE at Oxford University in 1999.

He worked as a teacher of languages and a head of year in England and then in Singapore, where he was assistant headteacher with pastoral responsibilities at Tanglin Trust School.


Children 'matter and thrive' at this Oxfordshire primary school

Stephen White, chair of governors at St Birinus, said: "William Manning has great belief in St Birinus and the boys, and has high expectations for them.

"He will set high standards in all aspects of school life and will consolidate and build on the strong foundations laid by John Marston over the past four years - in values, behaviour, extra-curricular provision and examination outcomes.

"We are delighted with his appointment."

According to the government's school comparison tool, St Birinus teaches 914 pupils while Wallingford teaches 1,238.

Announcing his retirement from the latter last year, Mr Willis told parents: "The headteacher’s job is a stressful one and hard work but an absolute privilege and a joy, especially here.

"I think the world of education has moved on in that time and a more intelligent, business-like and diplomatic style is needed and I am too long in the tooth to change."