A NEW principal has been appointed at Avon Valley College and is looking forward to the "bright and exciting" future ahead.

Salisbury-born Sam Johnston is returning to his roots to take on his first principalship. He is currently vice principal at Sandown Bay Academy in the Isle of Wight.

“I’m looking forward to working with students, staff and the community of Salisbury Plain – there’s a bright and exciting future ahead for Avon Valley College," said Mr Johnston.

"I chose to apply to Avon Valley College because I understand this school and I understand what needs to be done. I believe the staff here are ready for change, ready to believe in something new.

"I want this school to be the school that everyone knows, working with other schools.

"This is the first secondary school in Salisbury Plain Academies and in a few years’ time there will be others. I want this school to live by its values – when people visit this school I want them to feel the prospectus, I want the words in our brochure to really mean something."

He attended secondary school in Lymington before his family moved to the Midlands where he completed his secondary education. Later studying music at The University of Sheffield, he became interested in teaching - while his father was a head teacher at a Worcestershire school.

He completed his PGCE at the London Institute of Education and his first full-time appointment was at Torquay School before moving to Banbury School.

In 2003, he met his American wife to be and moved to the United States, living there for five years. Working in Washington DC and Texas in public, independent and charter schools, he also found the time to complete a MEd at Jones International University in Colorado.

On his return to the UK he joined the Future Leaders Programme, The DfE initiative for aspiring head teachers.

He also worked at Charter Academy in Portsmouth for three-and-a-half years.

Mr Johnston who lives in Winchester with his wife, Amber and their two children Finley and Stella.

He starts his role as principal on September 1.