AFTER 33 years spent teaching pupils at Hanley Castle High School, Ken Williams is to retire at the end of the term.

The 55-year-old, who teaches German and careers, is leaving to set up a painting and decorating business.

"I always wanted to do something else when I retired and I'm not going because I don't enjoy the job any more," he said.

"When I came to this school, it was an all-boys boarding school, and the headteacher still administered corporal punishment!"

Mr Williams voiced his satisfaction with the change in emphasis he has seen in modern language teaching, away from theoretical skills such as grammar towards practical, oral skills.

"Learning grammar is important but not when it hampers enthusiasm for expressing something in a foreign language," he said.

His friend and colleague, John Sherliker, head of modern foreign languages at the school, paid tribute to him.

"We've been working together for 20 years," he said, "He's been a hard-working, reliable and popular colleague.

"We are organising an evening at the Three Kings pub in Hanley Castle on Wednesday, December 12, for everybody who knows him."