Louise Miller-Marshall says ‘now is the time to hand the baton on to someone who will take the school on to its next stage of development’.

Pilton Community College principal Louise Miller-Marshall has announced she is leaving the school at the end of next term.

Ms Miller-Marshall joined the school as head teacher in September 2010, taking over from Mark Juby.

But she says now is the time to begin another chapter in her life.

In a letter to parents, Ms Miller-Marshall said: “Pilton has been my life and my passion for almost eight years but I feel that now is the time to hand the baton on to someone who will take the school on to its next stage of development.

“It has been an absolute privilege to work in such a vibrant and caring school with a team of dedicated professionals who genuinely put our pupils at the heart of everything they do.

“Of course, the most important thing about Pilton is its students, your children. They are an absolute credit to themselves and to you, their parents, and they deserve the very best education.

“Please rest assured that I will continue to work hard for the school until a successor is found.”

Joining Pilton after leaving her post as deputy head at a girls’ school in London, Ms Miller-Marshall introduced a new uniform policy, re-instating ties and shirts in place of the polo shirts worn at the time.

And there was controversy in 2011, when around 10 female pupils were warned to change their hair back to its natural colour or face expulsion.

In November last year, the school was told it needed to improve by Ofsted.

Education inspectors said overall effectiveness; effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; and outcomes for pupils all ‘required improvement’.

They found that personal development, behaviour and welfare was ‘good’.

In 2012, the secondary school was rated ‘good’ in all areas.

Last month’s provisional Progress 8 figures, which measure the progress of pupils in state secondary schools between the end of Key Stage Two and their GCSE results at the end of Key Stage Four, showed that Pilton Community College fell from ‘below average’ to ‘well below average’.

Mark Cartmell, chairman the Pilton Local Governing Board, said: “I would like to thank Louise for her hard-work, dedication to and care for the children who have passed through Pilton whilst she has been principal.

“And also for those children still at the school, including my own, who will be positively affected by the role model she has provided and developments she has made.

“I would also mention the ethos of Pilton which she understood and progressed, putting the pupils’ needs and achievements at the forefront.

“I wish her well in her future career and for the plans that she has.”

Gary Chown, chief executive of the Ventrus Academy Trust which runs Pilton, added: “I would like to take this opportunity to offer my heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Ms Miller-Marshall for the way in which she has led the school over many years.

“Ms Miller-Marshall is a colleague for whom I have great personal and professional respect. She is a very accomplished school leader.”

Mr Chown said the governors and the Ventrus Executive Team would now begin to recruit a strong leader to succeed Ms Miller-Marshall.

“We will obviously ensure the candidate appointed will be the very best fit for the whole community of Pilton,” he said.

Mr Chown promised to keep parents updated on the process and to introduce the new head as soon as possible.