Executive Headteacher: John Morris OBE
Head of School: Verity Hoffman
Ardleigh Green Infant School was opened on March 1st 1933
The first headteacher was Mr Henry Barnes, followed by
Mrs A Mann in 1949, Mrs Jordan in 1964, Mrs A Mortimor in 1979, Mrs E Nunn in 1983, Mrs J Walker in 1984, Mrs C Woodey in 1992 and Mrs V Morris in 2012.
Following the retirement of the Infant Headteacher Mrs Val Morris, after eight years of outstanding school leadership, the Infant and Junior Schools federated in September 2019. The new Ardleigh Green Learning Federation now has just one governing body, one Executive Headteacher responsible for both schools and one vision. As a federation both schools retain their unique identity and will therefore be inspected by OFSTED as two separate schools.
The original school motto, “Strive to Succeed,” lives on and is achieved today through our staff children, parents and governors “Working Together, Learning Together and Growing Together.” We consider ourselves to be a forward thinking school, committed to meeting the academic, physical and emotional needs of every child. The school is well equipped to meet the technological demands of life in the 21st Century and our creative curriculum, with a focus on developing resourceful, resilient, reflective and responsible learners, ensures that all children leave our school well equipped to commence their junior school education.
In addition to nine classrooms equipped with computers and interactive screens we have numerous small group teaching areas, a library, dining hall, and our own outdoor swimming pool. Early years has its own outdoor learning space which was redeveloped in 2020.
In 2009 we opened the Ardleigh Green Family Centre in what was then the former Ardleigh Green Baptist Church. The school refurbished the building in order to provide a range of much needed services for the local community and now welcomes over 400 visitors on a weekly basis. Having leased the premises for 5 years, in 2015 the school purchased the church for sole use of the school and local community, which will ensure that the centre will have a lasting legacy in the Ardleigh Green Community.
Our children are actively involved in a wide range of extra-curricular activities which both extend and enhance the curriculum. As they move to the Junior School children are encouraged to participate in competitive competitions for rugby, football, cross country, golf, athletics, gymnastics netball, tennis and swimming. Together with the Junior School we offer Breakfast Club and After School provision for Year 1 and Year 2 pupils to support working families. This provision is extended to Reception children during the summer term.
A Strong Foundation
We are delighted that many of our children continue to go on to university after their secondary school education and are equally thrilled that many have secured jobs locally, in the City and as far afield as Australia, Canada and Japan. 2013 saw our first past pupil graduate from Cambridge University. We are proud that Ardleigh Green Junior School has laid the foundations for our children to achieve national sporting and artistic success, as well securing jobs as teachers, sports coaches, physiotherapists, journalists, television producers, dentists, carpenters, builders and decorators to name but a few. We are justifiably proud of our academic success but equally proud that we have contributed to developing polite, respectful and caring young people.
Ardleigh Green Learning Federation is a National Support School for the National College of School Leadership. In January 2015 our headteacher Mr Morris, who is a Local Leader of Education, was awarded an OBE for services to education from HRH Prince William at Buckingham Palace.
The vision for Ardleigh Green Learning Federation is simply:
To celebrate the launch of Ardleigh Green Learning Federation, Eileen Morris the late mother of our Executive Headteacher, composed a poem entitled, The Guiding Hand.The poem, which has become the Learning Federation’s Mantra, encapsulates the importance we place on establishing caring, positive and nurturing relationships with our children.
The Guiding Hand
Whose hand is this that takes my own and clasps it from the hand I’ve known?
Will this voice that sounds so grand, speak gently or with harsh command?
Will I survive these giant places, these strange and unfamiliar faces?
What is it they will expect of me? Perhaps that one and two is three.
Will I cope with what is planned? Perhaps I’ll find that guiding hand.
The hand that moulds and helps me see, the person I was meant to be.
Will I when learning days are through say, “Teacher I remember you.”
By Eileen Morris
Mr M’s Mum
A past pupil writes about his recollections of Ardleigh Green Schools
Professor Ged Martin peers back through the mists of time to recall his first days at a Havering school.
I never thought I’d become an old buffer talking about events seventy years ago. And the truth is, my memories are vague.
One summer day in 1950 my mother marched me to the local school at Ardleigh Green. I faintly recall being taken along a corridor to the reception class.
My mother often claimed that I resentfully kicked her in the shin. As it took me decades to escape from the education system, I do not feel guilty.
The infant school headteacher was a small lady called Miss Mann. There are playgrounds at either end of the school. Miss Mann had Victorian principles: boys cavorted in one playground, girls paraded in the other.
I owe a huge debt to the teachers through my six years at Ardleigh Green, infants and juniors. They taught me to chant the twelve times table, to read, write and spell. I still remember being gently told, aged about six, that there is only one R in “father” but three Es in “cheese”.
Giving children individual attention was a challenge: there were 48 in my class.
The memory of one classroom crisis still freezes my blood. A nice girl answered a geography question, saying Eskimos lived in the Ar-tick. The teacher went crazy, shouting ArK-tic, ArK-tic.I’ve never dared repeat that mistake.
The junior school headteacher was Mr Prys Rees, a short, sparkling Welshman. We had many Welsh teachers (the alternative back home was coal-mining). They liked the Romford area because teachers were paid an additional London Allowance, but we had much lower housing costs.
We walked to and from school without supervision. Ardleigh Green’s catchment area extended to Cambridge Avenue in Gidea Park, a mile away. Some children went all that way home (and back) for lunch. (We called it “dinner”. We weren’t posh.) There was a surprising amount of equipment for Austerity Britain – film projectors, a Wendy House in the reception class, and radios fixed to the classroom walls. Sadly, I don’t remember any BBC educational programmes. However, on the fateful 25th of November 1953, we listened to England v. Hungary, broadcast from Wembley.
As we’d invented football, we thought England must win. But Hungary had scrapped centre forwards and half-backs for a ruthless system of strikers and midfield control. They won 6-3.
To give us some culture, the corridors were lined with reproductions of pictures by Van Gogh – poppies, stars, the famous broken chair. Decades later, I had a strange experience when I saw the originals in a Dutch gallery – the sounds, even the smells, of primary school crept back around me.
We sang lots of songs. Our music teacher was the delightfully chubby Miss Noel. When we sang Christmas carols, she told us she would be the Last Noel because she couldn’t find a husband.
Years later, ex-Ardleigh Greenites were delighted to hear of her marriage.
We warbled a French song, about dancing on the bridge at Avignon. In the mouths of Hornchurch youngsters, “Sur le pont d’Avignon” became “Sewer le pong daveenyong”.
I first encountered religion at school. The Ten Commandments caused some problems.
Honouring your par ents made sense. So did banning stealing and murder. But “thou shalt not commit adultery” puzzled us. Was adultery another word for adulthood? Surely you couldn’t be sent to Hell just for being a grown-up? That wasn’t fair.
It didn’t occur to us to ask our teachers to explain. They would probably have been embarrassed if we had.
In 1956, I moved on to secondary school, equipped with basic skills for later life. Thank you, Ardleigh Green.
Article published in the Romford Recorder 2020