David Porter became the new head of Ridgemede Junior School at the beginning of the summer term, 1988. He began a school log book which has provided invaluable in compiling this history. I am exceptionally grateful to him for allowing me to quote extensively from these records. In November of that year, he wrote:
“During the course of the term a thorough search has been made of the Offices and no trace of any log books has been found. The only ‘official’ record of the past was a current diary in which was noted the absences of staff. It has taken some time to get around to purchasing and writing up this new log book, so it is written retrospectively with the help of my diary and an untrustworthy memory.”
The first (retrospective) entry in the log is for the 11th of April – the “first day of Summer Term.”
The Infant School was officially opened on this day in its new location.
Ridgemede hosted the district sports track events, taking first place.
A day closure. “We took the opportunity to sort through the school, and throw out an enormous amount of rubbish and old equipment. 19 years of accumulation was thrown out. Still more to be done, but the school is now much tidier.” (David Porter's log book).
July 21st: “Sheila Cleeve retired following 17 years at Ridgemede School... Gill Cooper also left today. She takes up a post at Shedfield School in September. I am deeply sorry that it was not possible to retain her on the staff for September.” (David Porter's log book).
[Gill Cooper would, of course, return to the school in the near future, becoming a very established member of the team.]
“So ends my first term at Ridgemede. The school feels very comfortable to be in, and I have achieved my basic aims for the term. The staff and I have got to know each other, and I’ve come to appreciate their friendship, and qualities as teachers.” (David Porter's log book).
“Today was our harvest festival. There was a magnificent response from the parents and over 160 parcels were distributed around the village by Mrs Fletcher, Mrs Mills and a team of parents and pupils.” (David Porter's log book).
“Mr Hylands (Governor and recently retired Green Grocer) came to school for children to say “thank you”. Over the years he has shown kindness and consideration to the children and staff, and he was presented with book of children’s writing, pictures and cartoons.” (David Porter's log book).
“Margaret Sprunt left to take up an appointment in Horsham.” (David Porter's log book).
David Porter (Headteacher) (from April)
Dennis Owen (Deputy Head)
Ann Tromans (from a temporary contract in September)
Sheila Cleeve (until July)
Margaret Sprunt (until July)
Jacqui Clift (from September)
Sam Woodhouse (from a temporary contract in September)
Dave Allington (from September)
Liz Channon (secretary)
June Harding (secretary)