Headteacher James Fox says that giving up a successful career in finance to take up teaching was the best thing he ever did.

The 40-year-old, who took up his new post as headteacher of Abbeyfield School in Chippenham three weeks ago, said: “I was successful but I wanted to go back and work with children.

“It was the best thing I ever did because you can change people’s lives. My belief is that education can be a passport to a good life.”

Mr Fox has taken an unusual approach to his duties as headteacher, and is determined to be visible and accessible.

In his case, this does not mean having the door of his study open but being at the school gate at the end of every day, wishing the students good night. He is also leading an assembly with every year group in the school.

“Any change is scary for youngsters, especially with a new headteacher coming in,” he said. “That way they could hear what I want to do, and they all knew where they stand.”

He describes the pupils as “absolutely fantastic” and says “their behaviour is impeccable.”

Mr Fox, who replaces the ten-year-old school’s first headteacher Trish Shubrook, has already introduced prefects, and plans to create a house system with inter-house sports and enterprise competitions.

The former deputy headteacher at Writhlington School in Radstock said: “I am a passionate believer that houses develop a sense of belonging.”