ROSS High School has bid a fond farewell to an inspiring teacher after almost a decade.

Gordon Muchall, an additional support needs (ASN) teacher at the Tranent secondary school, has been praised for his work encouraging outdoor education and giving young children new and positive opportunities.

From Edinburgh, Gordon followed a different path to most teachers, having been a partner in a law firm and a Catholic priest before giving it up and following a career in teaching.

He said: “It felt like quite a natural progression. I had a broad range of experiences to bring to the job.

“When I was a priest, I was chaplain at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, dealing with people who were grieving, and I also visited special needs schools in Fife, and it was these visits that got me into teaching.

“Leaving the priesthood was a decision that I thought long and hard about, and in the end decided that it was the right move and I have no regrets. I trained as a teacher and got a job at Ross High over nine years ago.

“I was keen to bring a lot of outdoor learning to my work. I encouraged the children to climb hills, try kayaking and canoeing, rugby, things that a lot of the parents never thought their children could do.

“I’m a rugby referee as well, so naturally encouraged the children to play rugby, and to join the school choir and things.

“Seeing how happy they were and the smiles on their faces is something that I will really miss.”

Gordon is planning to move to the Isle of Mull to spend his retirement with his wife.

“We’re quite outdoorsy, we do a lot of hiking and kayaking,” he said.

“Our house will be right on the waterfront, so I am very looking forward to it.

“I’ve enjoyed myself, but I think it’s time for younger blood to take over, and I can give myself a rest!”

Jillian Binnie, depute head teacher ASN at Ross High, said: “Gordon has made a huge contribution to the ASN provision and Ross High School as a community, especially in driving the introduction of an outdoor education programme that allows all of our young people, even those with the most severe and complex needs, to take part.

“He has a calm, non-judgemental approach to dealing with any challenges he might face on a daily basis.

“He shows all of our young people unconditional positive regard and has built strong relationships with both our young people and their families. He is also a much-valued team member.

“We all wish him well in his retirement.”