A BARRY head teacher will bid a fond farewell to his school having 'loved every minute' of his 10 years at the helm.

Bryn Hafren Comprehensive head teacher, Phil Whitcombe – who was the head teacher at Dyffryn school, in Port Talbot before he took up the all-girl school’s helm in 2004 – is retiring this year and handing over to successor Tyrone Davies, who previously taught at the school under Mr Whitcombe’s leadership.

Phil, 58, said: “I really did miss having a school with a 6th form and felt like I needed something to challenge me.

“When Bryn Hafren came up I felt like it was a school I could help to develop further.

“I think there were a number of issues when I came to the school. The exam results were falling below what we would expect.”

Phil decided to review the curriculum, re-structure staff and, importantly, engage the children and community.

Phil, whose specialist teaching field is biochemistry and biology, said the school has a thriving creative arts department and the girls step up in an environment where boys traditionally dominate.

“The girls actively engage in science,” he said praising the staff for their work. “Staff give their all and go the extra mile. They want the children to succeed.

“When you have got those kids who have got major problems and you see those kids on results day and they are 10 foot tall – that’s what this job is about.

“I’ve been a head teacher for 15 years and it’s a demanding job; mentally demanding. It’s time I did something else.

Phil, a Cardiff Blues and general rugby supporter, plans to spend time with his grandchildren and indulge his passion for travel and photography, but not being able to cut off school ties completely is interested in assisting in furthering girls education in Colombia.

Phil, who has also over the years played a major role in staff and head teacher development, added: “I’ve loved every minute of it and I leave behind a very good school in the capable hands of Tyrone Davies who will continue its development.

“I’d like to thank everyone in the school and the community.

“I don’t doubt that am going to miss the kids. It’s been great fun. I have a job I love, but the time has come.”