STUDENTS at a Darlington primary school have said a fond farewell to their headteacher, who has retired after a career spanning more than 40 years.

The end of term last Friday saw a lot of changes at Northwood Primary, as many members of staff left the school.

Few have spent as much time there as outgoing headteacher David Ackroyd, 60.

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A career that began over 40 years ago as a trainee teacher, Mr Ackroyd's first placement was at Northwood primary school, then North Road primary, in 1972.

He retires having served as headteacher for 11 years.

Mr Ackroyd has seen many changes to the primary school over the years as well as the teaching profession, the biggest change being the re-build of the entire school in 2010.

He said: “It was a unique experience to be able to build and plan a new school, It’s a fantastic building, a living building. The community and children deserve it.”

Saying goodbye after such a long career did not come easy, Mr Ackroyd admitted.

He added: "I still thoroughly enjoy it, I still want to come to school every day but I want to finish at the top of my game."

He has plenty planned for his retirement and will not be taking it easy, with an eight-week old grandchild, the wedding of his daughter to plan and a trip to China to look forward to.

Leaving Northwood is a big change but, Mr Ackroyd is certain the primary school has been left in good hands.

He said: “We are one big family and I know the school will become even more successful.”