The end of an era is approaching for St John’s in Marlborough, with principal Patrick Hazlewood announcing he will step down next April.

Staff were told last Friday morning and an email was sent to parents later that day.

Dr Hazlewood, who will have held the position for 19 years, will remain chief executive of Excalibur Academies, a trust of academies including St John’s.

He said: “I’ve been thinking about it for a while and timing is always everything.

“The job of principal is full-time plus and CEO is likely to be just as demanding, so it’s a pragmatic decision that I couldn’t continue to do both jobs.

“Over half of my career has been spent at St John’s and the last 18 years have been very happy ones. We’ve achieved so many things and I have an immense sense of pride in what we have achieved as a community and it is very sad to go.

“Teaching is such a privilege and to lead a school of this magnitude is hugely rewarding, so it’s sadness tinged with great happiness and a sense of achievement.”

Dr Hazlewood oversaw the £25 million project to build a school on a single site in 2008.

He said: “The stand-out moment has to be the opening of the new school. Almost no head ever gets the great opportunity to build their own school and yet it happened to me.

“When I was first appointed, I, rather optimistically, said we would try and get the new school built within five years. I imagined in my own mind I’d be here for five to seven years and, in the end, it took 13 years to get the new school built and when it was built I wanted to enjoy it.

“I’ve been offered quite a few jobs over the years and I’ve turned them all down.

“What I really want is that the international academy side of it becomes a beacon for how schools of the future should develop and that really is my next big project, to expand the concept of the international academy.”