TWO science teachers today will vanish in a puff of smoke to chase careers as professional magicians.

Rhys Jones and Rob Hemmens, who both work at King Alfred’s Academy in Wantage, will reappear on the other side of the world next year as double act Rhys Morgan and Rob West.

The duo – performing as Victorian time travelling magicians – are to fly to Australia in February for a two-month tour before returning to write and perform full time.

Maths and physics teacher Mr Jones, 24, of Palmer Road, Headington, said: “It is a little bit scary staring into the wild blue yonder with nothing but pretending to have super powers to rely on.

“But it will be a really exciting time and also an interesting time.”

The Oxford Mail reported in July that the pair had dazzled students after starring on the Saturday night television show Penn & Teller: Fool Us.

The friends won a trip to Las Vegas to perform in September after their card trick bamboozled the hosts of the ITV programme.

They also performed their show, Morgan & West: Crime Solving Magicians, at the Edinburgh Fringe during the summer.

Now they are booked to appear at the Adelaide Fringe for a month and they also hope to perform in Sydney and Melbourne.

Mr Jones said: “It had got to the point where we were spending all of our time teaching or doing magic and it was one or the other. These opportunities don’t come by all the time so we have to grab them when they do.”

He added: “Everyone has been very supportive.”

Mr Hemmens, 25, of Mattock Close, Headington, taught chemistry and physics at the school.

The former housemates have been practising magic together ever since they met at Oxford University four years ago.

Both have taught at the secondary school for more than a year and also ran a magic club there every Tuesday.

King Alfred’s Academy headteacher Simon Spiers said the pair were outstanding teachers who would be missed.

He said: “They have made a real impact, and I don’t just mean with their magic, but with their teaching.

“It is sad to lose them but we understand why they are going and we wish them the very best in what will be a big step for them.”

Meanwhile, Banbury’s Blessed George Napier Catholic School headteacher Catherine Weaver is set to retire today.

She will step down after five years in the post and 22 years at the Addison Road school.

Deputy headteacher Fraser Long will take over her post.