RETIRING Wath headteacher Robert Godber believes the school's international relations are the legacy of his five years in charge.

Mr Godber, who stands down after taking the post in 1997, joined the school as a history teacher in 1965, purely by accident.

"I had no intention of staying in the job," he said. "I toyed with the idea of the civil service but arrived in teaching by accident. I can't say I planned it.

"But I've been here ever since. It's rare that someone comes through the ranks."

Born in Chapeltown, Sheffield, Robert Godber received his education at Ecclesfield Grammar School before going on to Manchester University to read politics and modern history.

In 1977 he became a senior teacher before becoming a deputy head in 1983, a post he held up until his appointment as head in 1997.

"I'd like to think that in my time as Head we took the school forward in a number of ways, that we continued to raise attainment levels. For the last two years we have had improved achievement awards for improvement in exam results.

"We have developed a special language school that has been built on the schools success in languages prior to that.

"I'd like to think we've become more outwardly looking and more internationally minded as a school.

"One of the more exciting things was that eight sixth formers went to Namibia to help build a sports facility in a Namibian School. This is representative of the type of thing we've tried to do."

Mr Godber taught history and politics with one of his most famous pupils being William Hague.

"The school's always had high expectations of its students, because high expectations breed high achievement."

"I've always put a high priority on staff development. It's no coincidence we are a designated investor in people school."

The school will not just be undergoing the changes in personnel, but it is also bringing the whole operation on to one site.

"The plan is to remove our temporary classrooms and replace them with purpose built classrooms. It will be an end to this endless improvisation that we have had to deal with since 1923."

The school's chair of governors, Irene Hartley, said of Mr Godber: "I think he's taken the school forward in the proper manner. We've received plenty of achievement awards and we've seen quite a lot of progress. His work now leads us into the new headteacher."

Mr Godber concluded: "People often ask me why I have stayed here so long and it's to do with the support from the community, the support from 99.9 per cent of parents and the fact that Wath kids are so great."

Eric Sampson of Surrey takes over as Headteacher.