Pioneering headteacher Trish Shubrook said goodbye to Abbeyfield School on Friday, a decade after she launched it.
Her final day coincided with the tenth anniversary of the Chippenham school, which she has seen develop from ten staff and 67 children to 120 staff and nearly 1,000 students.
She marked the occassion with an assembly and birthday cake for each tutor group.
“I’m incredibly proud of everything we have established at Abbeyfield, but it has been a team effort,” said Mrs Shubrook.
“It’s such a unique opportunity to start a school from scratch – it’s a one in a million chance in this profession and I consider myself to be enormously privileged to be entrusted with that responsibility.”
Mrs Shubrook was appointed on April 1 and the school was due to open in a new block in the grounds of Hardenhuish School on September 1. A year later the school moved to the new building at Pewsham.
She said: “I was terrified, there was absolutely nothing, so I started with appointing the staff, and we have a great team which has been the secret to our success.
“At that time I only really looked to see that first cohort go through the school, but then we started to look at the sixth form, and that became another chapter in the school’s life.”
There had been a number of highlights in her time, including the official opening by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2001, as well as the launch of the sixth form centre in 2008 and receiving the Business and Enterprise Specialist School status in 2005.
“It has been a rollercoaster, but I only have happy memories of the school,” she said.
“I am going to miss the children more than anything. Whenever things weren’t going the way I wanted, I would always go and find the children to have a chat and they would often say such funny things and really lift my spirits.”
Business specialist James Fox, deputy headteacher at Writhlington Business and Enterprise School in Radstock, will take over in September.
Mrs Shubrook said: “What I’m really looking forward to is the morning of September 1 when I wake up, look at the clock, and think, I’ll stay in bed for another hour.
“It will also be the first time I have ever been able to take a holiday in September, so I am going to see New England in the fall. It has always been an ambition of mine.”