THE HEAD of one of Hampshire's top state secondary schools is to leave after eight years at the helm.

Sue Lawrence has announced her plans to retire from Kings' School in Winchester at the end of this academic year in a letter to parents.

Mrs Lawrence said it has been “an exceptionally difficult decision to make” but it was the right time to go “both personally and professionally.”

At its last Ofsted inspection, the school was rated overall “outstanding.” More than 77 per cent of pupils achieved five or more GCSEs at grades A*to C, including English and maths, last summer.

The school, which is known for its strict uniform policy, also has a strong sporting tradition and is fully inclusive of pupils with severe physical disabilities.

In the letter, Mrs Lawrence said: “It has been a huge privilege to be headteacher of this magnificent school and to play a significant part in its successful journey. It has been an honour.

“I have loved the challenge, the leadership, the camaraderie, teamwork, setting direction and, of course, working with so many young people and their families.

“I entered the profession 36 years ago because I enjoy working with young people. They are an absolute delight.

“To have had the opportunity to influence the education of those young people has been truly awe-inspiring.”

Mrs Lawrence, whose husband Philip was head of history at the school and still teaches part-time, was also deputy head for 12 years under her long-serving predecessor, Ray Bradbury.