School History - 2001


March 14th

“Depending upon the time of year, teachers have to give various lengths of notice before taking up a new job.  It is anticipated that whoever is appointed as the new head of Ridgemede, will have to give four months notice.  To make the appointment for September would have been a very tight schedule, therefore rather than rush the process, the Governors have decided to ask Mrs Marsh to be ‘Acting Head’ for the Autumn Term.  The new head will be appointed early in June, but will not take up the post until January 2002.” (newsletter)


“This is a good school with aspects which are very good: from the findings of this report pupils achieve high standards in most aspects of their education.  The school believes that all children can and will succeed.  A high proportion of good and very good teaching enables pupils to make good progress and achieve well.  There is a high commitment from all adults to develop well rounded, responsible and confident children who can take advantage of a wide range of social and learning opportunities.  The strengths of the school greatly oughtweigh the weaknesses.” (OFSTED report, 2001)

A leaflet setting out the Millennium Classroom.  Children prepare for a cross country run in aid of Children in Need.
A leaflet setting out the Millennium Classroom Children prepare for a cross country run in aid of Children in Need.
Year Three visit St Peter's Church.
Year Three visit St Peter's Church

March 30th
“We are just a few hundred pounds short of our target figure, and showing good faith that the money will be forthcoming, the project is due to start on Monday 9th April (the first day of the Easter holiday). Therefore by the time the children return on 23rd April, most of the heavy construction work will have taken place.
"Weather permitting on the afternoon of 4th April all the children will be involved in a turf cutting ceremony. You are very welcome to join us.” (newsletter).

2001-042.JPG 2001-041.JPG
<p>Coverage of the turf cutting ceremony for the Parish Magazine.</p> <p>Tree planting.</p>
Coverage of the turf cutting ceremony for the Parish Magazine Tree planting

July 9th
“After a delay which was beyond their control, the School Governors are pleased to announce that Mr Eric Halton has been appointed as Headteacher of Ridgemede School as from the 1st January 2002. Mr Halton is currently Head of Ranvilles Junior School in Fareham, a post which he has held for the past 8 years.
“I have met Mr Halton, and I am sure he is just the right person to move Ridgemede forward in the 21st century and onto greater developments and success.
“As you know, for the Autumn Term, the school will be in the very capable hands of Mrs Marsh who will be Acting Head. She will be very ably assisted by Mrs Cooper and Mrs Wood, who will share the post of Deputy Head. This is a very experienced team.” (newsletter)

July 9th
“Sadly the rain came at just the wrong moment last Wednesday. The open-air classroom is built to comfortably hold 300 pupils, but with 100 guests invited to the opening ceremony, we would have had to use the surrounding landscaped area for additional seating. However this is recently seeded, bare earth which the rain has turned into slippery mud. So hence the switch indoors.” (newsletter).


24th July

After 13 ½ years, David Porter retired from the position of Head Teacher at Ridgemede Junior School.  Below is a copy of his final newsletter.


Dear Parent,

In writing the final Newsletter of the school year to you on the 9th July, my intention was to tie-up all the loose ends, so that when I put pen to paper during my last few days I could concentrate on a single purpose; and that was to say ‘thank you’ and ‘goodbye’.

Over a considerable period of time in any organisation, be it a family or school, there are ups and downs, and the downs always seem to be deeper and last longer than the ups are high.  Being only human we tend to only remember and reflect on the crises and upsets; but rather like our memories of childhood summers always being long, hot and sunny, I know that when I am sitting in an easy chair with my feet up at 10 o’clock on Wednesday 5th September or there after, it will be happy memories of my teaching career and in particular this special place, Ridgemede, which will come flooding back into my mind.

Together we have achieved a lot.  From the strong and much respected school which I inherited from John Watts 13 ½ years ago, we have moved on, and it is only through home and school working so closely together.  You want what is best for your child and all credit to you for insisting upon that.  We want the same; and as your child grows beyond the relatively narrow confines of a National Curriculum, experiencing a wide range of activities and experiences, so they develop and so does the school.  It has been a tremendous pleasure to be part of that development.

Thank you for all the support and encouragement you have given the staff and myself over the years.  Teaching, particularly for the conscientious and dedicated, is a very stressful and time consuming profession, and here at Ridgemede we are blessed with a whole staff – teachers, support staff, administration, lunchtime, cleaning and kitchen who deeply care.  Therefore your notes and words of appreciation mean a great deal to everyone.  To a teacher, to know that you are appreciated is tremendous, and you have always been very generous in your praise.

My thanks to all of you have supported my application for a teaching award.  I still find it very embarrassing to have been singled out for praise.  I look upon the award as being a great honour for Ridgemede and due recognition for a complete education which it so successfully offers to all our pupils.

At a wonderful occasion on Saturday evening spent with colleagues, the governors, FORSA and so many former teaching friends going back to when I started in 1963, I was given some lovely leaving presents.  Most treasured of all will be two books.  One is a huge photo album which is an incredible record of our fete evening.  Many of you appear amongst the photographs taken.  Browsing through it, as I have done several times already, will bring back special memories to me.

The other book is the one in which so many of you and the children have written comments about Ridgemede School and myself.  You have been very generous in expressing your best wishes for my retirement.  I sat up until 2:45am on Sunday morning (unheard of for me) reading through the pages, often with tears of embarrassment in my eyes.

I consider myself very fortunate to have worked in such a lovely, caring community such as Bishop’s Waltham, and so very, very lucky to have been associated with Ridgemede School, during the final years of my career.

I wish you well.  No doubt we will bump into each other many times in the area (but not in Budgens on a Friday at 5:00pm – I will be able to choose my own time now, preferably when the bread shelves are full) in the years to come.  Just one plea.  As I hopefully approach old age gracefully, my memory for names is getting appalling.  Please bear with me when we meet up.

With my best wishes to all of you for the future.  Thanks for everything.


September 7th

“I took up my role as acting head from 1st September, and was as anxious as anyone that the first day would go smoothly.  There were a few tears of relief (mainly parents), some anxiety (mainly children) but I am happy to report none from the staff.” (Gen Marsh, newsletter)

Ridgemede Staff, 2001

David Porter – Headteacher (until July)
Gen Marsh – Deputy Head (Acting Headteacher from September)
Ann Tromans
Gill Cooper
Gill Blundell
Jan Brook
Janet Young
Sam Wood
Diana Rudge
Sarah Handcock
Monica Carter
Jackie Tredré
Lynne Brierly
Rachel Moorhouse (from September)

Julie Blake
Leslie McLay
Debbie Barclay
Jeannette Mars
Karen Anderson
Coralie Franklin
Debbie Simpson
Nina Hunter
Becky Thompson
Julie Johnson
Carole Estall
Olwyn Wort (until September)
Tania Russell (until September)

Liz Channon (Administration officer)
June Harding (Assistant administration officer)
Roger Bryant (caretaker)
Graham Newton (assistant caretaker)
Molly Gomer (cleaner)
Sam Baldwin (librarian & technician)