“Whilst many schools ‘bin’ correspondence about competitions and grant awards, Richard could see the benefits to the school in making applications. The pupils enjoy taking part in competitions – and produce excellent work to submit to the awarding bodies. The school has received high profile recognition as a result,” commented Julia.
In 2008, the school was judged as ‘outstanding’ and this was a reflection of how Richard refined the staff and pupil mentoring system. In 1990, with great enthusiasm, Richard applied to become one of the schools to take part in both the ‘Comenius’ (European) and International schools project. Since that time these projects have enabled over 100 staff to have experienced an exchange of cultural experiences and education ideas in a foreign country.
In terms of becoming a sustainable school, Richard took a unique ‘hi-tech’ approach. As well as the many practical changes the school adopted (recycling, re-using push taps and light sensors) there is an energy monitoring system recording daily gas, water and electricity consumption.
Richard’s interest in ICT has led to an 18-year (and ongoing) relationship with national company, RM, testing educational hardware and software products before they reach the marketing stage. Richard took the bold step of inviting the probation service to undertake a two-year project with offenders to renovate and improve the environmental facilities at the school. The project was so successful it now acts as a case study for others to follow.
Having spent 40 years in the education sector, starting as a class teacher in 1972, Richard became head of Hagbourne C of E Primary School in 1989. It was not long before the number of pupils increased to capacity and today there is a waiting list which is testimony to the high regard the school is held in the community. His dedication as a head teacher, colleague and mentor is reflected in the various achievements that the school has recorded in areas such as sport, technology and in creating an eco school.
Richard has looked at ways of improving and enhancing the school buildings and grounds over the years. The benefits for the children and staff are apparent both in terms of physical changes (e.g. improvements to staff rooms and library rooms) and also in terms of spiritual wellbeing (e.g. a sensory garden, a tranquillity dome, woodland and wildlife areas). There is also a covered swimming pool with new changing rooms which have community access at certain times.
It has been a priority for Richard to work with all age groups, giving the children a chance to get to know him and for him to get to know all the children in his care. The children Richard worked with were inspired by his enthusiasm and staff are now always prepared to go the extra mile to ensure successful outcomes for pupils.