THE school bell at Dunbar Grammar School has rung for the final time for headteacher Claire Slowther.

Friday marked her last day at the secondary school where Mrs Slowther has worked for more than a decade.

Next term, she will be the head of secondary school at the British Vietnamese International School (BVIS) in Hanoi.

READ MOREDunbar Grammar School headteacher Claire Slowther moving to Vietnam

Mrs Slowther told the Courier she was filled with “a whole mixed bag of emotions” as she counted down to leaving the school last week.

She said: “I’m feeling really sad about leaving here and quite emotional about the school.

“I have been here for 11-and-a-half years but I am excited for what lies ahead.

“I am feeling nervous about the big move, it is such a big lifestyle change, and sadness that I am going to miss people but excited for what lies ahead.”

Mrs Slowther, who lives in Midlothian, previously worked as head of science and taught biology at Haddington’s Knox Academy and was also depute headteacher at Tranent’s Ross High School.

In 2018, she succeeded Paul Raffaelli at the helm of Dunbar Grammar School.

READ MOREDolly Parton tribute to departing Dunbar Grammar headteacher

Looking back on her time at the secondary school, she said: “I just feel so fortunate and blessed to have had 11-and-a-half years at a really special school community.

“What I have been saying in assemblies is that it is special because of the people – the staff and the students.

“The students are absolutely exceptional.

“They are kind, caring, adventurous and committed youngsters, who surprise me and fill me with love every day.

“It is hard to leave but I will be keeping an eye from the other side of the world.”

Mrs Slowther and husband Craig, who works as a postman, are keen travellers, having visited more than 40 countries across the world.

Among them was Vietnam in 2017, where they travelled from the north of the country, which is home to 97 million people, to the south.

They “really did love Hanoi” and the opportunity came up to make the move of a lifetime, with the couple preparing for the switch, including learning the language.

Mrs Slowther said: “I think I am on level 170 on Duolingo with my practising.

“It is certainly a language that is easier to read than be able to speak!”

The couple move at the beginning of next month and are in the process of condensing their belongings into just four suitcases.

From there, they will travel to Hanoi, which has a population about the same as Scotland, and get ready to start their new lives.

Mrs Slowther added: “We have got a whole string of visitors coming next year that can bring stuff over and we are coming home at Christmas.”

In the meantime, the outgoing headteacher was pleased to say that the school would be in good hands.

New headteacher John Johnstone is no stranger to the town or the school, having played in goals for Dunbar United and attended the Summerfield Road school as a pupil.

Mrs Slowther said: “He has such a strong connection with the town and his local knowledge is excellent.

“It will be a real asset to him and moving forward in the role.”