A LONG-SERVING teacher from Alloa has retired after 34 years in the profession.

Ray O'Neill retired as headteacher at St Modan's High School in Stirling following a career which saw him work in posts around the world.

The fifth of 15 children, he graduated from St Andrew's College in 1986 before working abroad for seven years in Abu Dhabi and Kenya.

On his return to the UK, he and his family settled in the Wee County and Mr O'Neill worked across the central belt before taking up a position as deputy headteacher at St Modan's in 2004.

It was the beginning of a lengthy spell at the secondary, fulfilling a long-held ambition which came after meeting pupils from the school around Alloa and Clackmannanshire.

Mr O'Neill became headteacher of the school in April 2011 and officially retired on April 1 this year, the final day before the spring break.

He said: "The school is blessed with so many wonderful young people who genuinely work hard, show care and respect for others and try, always to be the best they can be, in every respect.

"I hope that in some small way my time at the school will be remembered for, at least my commitment to doing what's right for all of our young people regardless of academic ability."

In his 16 years at St Modan's, the Alloa resident has seen the school through a number of significant developments.

He helped implement the Curriculum for Excellence, introduced a curricular review in the senior phase to broaden the offer available, supported young people to access a wide range of future pathways and opened a new library and learning space three years ago.

Mr O'Neill also oversaw the opening of a state-of-the-art vocational training centre while helping to open and expand Tiny Farm, which helps to teach children rural skills.

He added: "All this and more was made possible because of the huge commitment of a fantastic staff at the school and a supportive, forward-thinking parent body.

"I am lucky to have worked with so many great colleagues and families in my time here and for that I will always be enormously grateful.

"I will miss St Modan's, but I know that the school is in a very good place to continue to serve well the young people and families of Stirling, Clacks and Falkirk."

Councillor Susan McGill, convener of the Children and Young People Committee at Stirling Council, said: "Ray has successfully led the school through several major changes in the curriculum and worked tirelessly to enhance the school's facilities, which are helping pupils fulfil their potential and reach a wide range of positive destinations.

"His last act has been steering the school through this unprecedented national crisis, supporting staff and ensuring its young people can continue their learning in these uncertain times.

"We would like to wish Ray a very long and happy retirement."