A NEWPORT headteacher who has taken early retirement described his job as "an absolute pleasure".

Peter Cornelious, 59, of Newport, said his early retirement was a ‘difficult decision’ after teaching at Milton Junior School for more than 20 years.

He retired in December last year.

Mr Cornelious joined the school as a trainee teacher in 1986, and began teaching in 1990, before becoming deputy head teacher in 1995 and head teacher in 2001, taking over from Gerald Riding.

John Griffiths, deputy head teacher of Milton Junior School said that Mr Cornelious had a "very long connection with the school" after taking an active role in many of the school’s activities over the years.

“We will miss him greatly,” Mr Griffiths said.

“He was more than a boss; he was a friend of the school.”

The father of four was personally involved in many of the pupil’s literacy and history projects, building chariots and air raid shelters to give pupils the opportunity to experience what it would have been like at the time.

“He was very supportive of all of the staff and children and played a strong part as secretary of Newport Association of Primary Schools (NAPS), " Mr Griffiths said.

Reflecting on his time at the school, former science and technology teacher Mr Cornelious said that particular highlights included the schools 50th anniversary garden party and the school's achievement of excellence in many subject areas during the schools inspection in 2010.

“I have really enjoyed working there,” Mr Cornelious added.

“I have spent 23 and a half years there and have made lots of friends.

"I have good links with the community and have good support from governors, especially Audrey Williams and Rev. Iain Douall.

“Over the time I have been there I have made lots of friends with parents, god parents, aunties and uncles in the estate and in the Ringland area and some of the comments they have left have been very humbling.”

Mr Cornelious plans to spend his retirement in his cottage in West Wales and continue gardening while keeping his close links with the school.

The new head of Milton Junior School is Joyce Tomala.