Outstanding is a word Chris Riding would happily use to describe his time at All Hallows Catholic High.
During his 12 years as head at the Penwortham school he has had heard the endorsement twice from the Office for Standards in Education and three from the diocese.
Chris, who is retiring this month, has nothing but fond memories of his time since he took over the reins after four and a half years at St Bede’s in Lytham.
He recalls: “Following our inspection in 2007 we were one of the first in the country to be awarded the new outstanding grade.”
In fact, All Hallows was the first in the district to get the top accolade, which was endorsed again in 2013.
And, says Chris: “As I finish this year our RE inspection was outstanding, for the third time in a row. That is very pleasing.”
During his time at the Crabtree Avenue school, which was one of the first technology colleges in the county, All Hallows was appointed one of the first specialist language colleges and more recently Chris was made a National Leader for Education.
He says: “What is really nice was that on five separate occasions we have been congratulated by the Government on the academic results of pupils - every year since 2014 and we are in the top 100 non-selective schools in England. To have that kind of recognition is lovely.”
But, he adds: “The past 12 years have flown by but the best bit really, as well as the pupils, is the staff .
“I have been very lucky to have been able to work in a community like this one.”
During his time at All Hallows Chris has overseen a lot of changes - not least the school uniform.
These have ranged from an internal redesign, new science labs, a new sports hall and yard and plans are underway to move the playing fields closer to the school as part of the Penwortham by-pass development.
Chris said: “I’ve loved my job and have really enjoyed my time here.
“It has gone so quickly. It has been great to see and hear from so many past pupils and staff.”
Chris is a father- of-three and granddad to two ( with two more on the way).
He added: “I have no great plans for retirement other than to spend more time with my family .”
His successor is Chis Horrocks, currently head at St Bede’s in Ormskirk.