CHIPPING Campden School will be a less colourful place when headmaster Jeff Price retires in the summer.

He is famous for his eye-catching ties and designer spectacles, although not quite in Elton John's league.

He has been at the school for 20 years, 13 of them as head, but there is no chance of Mr Price letting the sun go down on his association with Chipping Campden, where he and his family live, or on his 33 years' experience in schools.

He will still be involved with the Gloucestershire heads' association, and take on consultancy work.

"The next few years will see considerable changes in secondary education, including the extended school agenda and 14 to 19 curriculum, so it seemed the right thing to finish now rather than leave in the middle of all the changes so that the next head can be in place to see everything through," said Mr Price.

"I live just down the road from the school so I shall pass it every day. I'm sure it will feel a bit odd at first.

"I shall miss the children terribly. The day after I wrote to parents and pupils telling them I was going, they kept coming up to me and saying I can't believe it. It's sad, but good to leave on a high."

Chipping Campden has enjoyed excellent Ofsted reports, and exam results have been some of the best in the county and the country. The school is over-subscribed, but Mr Price is keen to point out that education is not just about league tables.

"There is much more to it than that, such as sport and drama. It's pastoral care, it's everything," he said.

During his time at the school, the building has been extended and improved, with an art and music block added, a technology block, a sixth form centre, a sports centre in partnership with Cotswold District Council in dual use with the community, and drama studios.

The latest developments are a computerised language lab (the school has specialist language status and is teaching Mandarin Chinese next year) and an extension to its technology rooms.

The work has been one of the highlights of Mr Price's tenure. He said: "We have had a lot of building work done. When parents see the school and I show them around they say what a good condition it is in. It has changed a lot in the physical sense while I have been here."

Among his highlights were being nominated as a regional finalist in the headteacher of the year award in 2005, and being invited to a reception in Lancaster House in London for heads of the best performing schools in the country.

Chipping Campden has twice been mentioned in Parliament during Ofsted reports naming outstanding schools.

Education today is vastly different from when Mr Price started teaching 33 years ago. "I went into it because it seemed at the time the natural thing to do. I thought I could make a difference. I had some really inspirational teachers when I was at school and some really bad ones. I said to myself I want to be better than them and more like those.

"When I started, you more or less learned on the job, and there was little in the way of statistics, data or assessments. The accountability of the job is now dramatically different.

"The quality of teacher training is infinitely better now, and new teachers are coming in with a much better idea of how to do the job."

During his career, Mr Price, who graduated in English, also taught law, history and psychology, which has stood him in good stead in coping with the swings and roundabouts of school life.

Ken Wood, chairman of the school governors, described Mr Price as "a superb ambassador for modern, mixed secondary education.

"The results he gets through his leadership are remarkable," he said. "He is also renowned for his litter picking. He has sets of long-handled litter pickers, and any pupil who does anything wrong gets put on litter picking duty. It helps to give them a tremendous sense of ownership of the school."