THE head of a New Forest college will leave her post after 14 years with "a very good heart" in December.

Brockenhurst College principal Di Roberts has announced she will retire at the end of the calendar year, meaning the further educational establishment is starting a process to fill her position.

Ms Roberts said she would leave her position with excellent student achievement and progression, student numbers on the up and stable finances.

“It has been an absolute privilege to work with what are the very best teachers, professional services staff and managers in the sector.

“I know the governors will appoint someone who has the vision and expertise to build on my legacy, as well as those of other former Brock principals.”

She joined the college in 2001 after more than 25 years teaching across all ability levels.

In 2013, as principal and a board member of the Association of Colleges, she accompanied then Prime Minister David Cameron on a ministerial visit to China.

Ms Roberts was deputy chair of the Association of Colleges (AoC) from 2009 to 2015 and currently chairs the national AoC special educational needs policy group. She is also a board member of the Principals’ Professional Council.

Nine years ago, she was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to Further Education.

Graham Beards, chair of governors at Brockenhurst College, said: “We thank Di for her years of service and trust she will remain a lifelong friend of the College.

“Now we are looking to the future by working hard with individuals and agencies to recruit the best person for the job of Principal.”

It is understood the college governors are seeking an "outstanding" candidate to take the institution forward ahead of an important era, with £1.5bn capital funding over five years for further education colleges recently announced in the chancellor’s budget.