Mapperley Village

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My Memories of Mapperley School by Philip Millard
Headmaster 1990 - 2007

I am so pleased to be invited to add my thoughts and memories to those already given and would like to congratulate Elaine on producing this worthwhile website to promote such a friendly village. People used to say to me ‘Ah, Mapperley – the village that time forgot’.  That’s not so true now as the website will enable the past to be remembered, the present to be celebrated and the future to be promoted.

I first came to look at Mapperley School on a cold sunny, winter day in February 1990. It was half-term holiday so there were no children around.  I leant against the wooden fence and thought ‘This is the place for me – I hope the village will think so too’

After a successful interview in May, I was invited by the assistant Director of Education, David Fox, to look around the Ripley Education offices.  When I arrived, there was much laughter and amusement and I was told that this was because I was 6’ 3” tall and my predecessor, Tony Treseder, was rather shorter.  Therefore, we were.... ‘Little and Large’, but it was all Tony’s good work and legacy that I was going to be taking forward.

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Initially, there were two teachers, Christine Richards and Joan Law. They were assisted by Sheila Tooley and Carole Cooke, Mollie Skinner and Gill Palmer were involved in the children’s welfare. To secure the school’s future was an immediate aim. To raise the attendance figures was a must and to promote the school in Mapperley and beyond was of paramount importance. Within 5 years, the number of children attending the school had risen from 29 to 50 – a great achievement by all. Talk of closure receded.

In those early days, we built up the reading scheme with the help of a very active Parent Teacher Association who over the years raised many thousands of pounds to help furnish and promote the school.  We had many fairs, jumble sales, bonfire parties and Christmas events which were always well supported.

Joan Law retired in 1994 and Stephanie Turner was appointed in her place. Like Joan Law before her and Christine Richards, she was another dedicated, excellent teacher.  She and I shared the teaching of the Junior children and I also spent a little time each week with the infants. This meant that I knew every child in the school. So, with  stability of staff and awareness of our strengths we moved the school forward educationally through 3 OFSTED visits.

Over the years, we also had great support from our Teaching Assistants who helped with classroom management and group teaching, namely Mrs. Straw, Karen Cox, Cathy Smethem, Karen Hunt and Helen Cooke and Justine Gelder.  Many parents became involved in classroom activities such as listening to reading or decorating the classrooms – and I mean with a brush and roller.

The Governors played a huge part in School life. Having worked in several schools prior to Mapperley, I realised how friendly, helpful and supportive they were. All the Governors helped to shape the future for the school and its children but several Chairs of Governors should be mentioned:-  Ted Lyons, Steven Milner, Christopher Kenny and Shaun Jackson.

Of course, the most important group of all is the children. They came from varied backgrounds and possessed all kinds of abilities, some more academic, some very creative, some with excellent practical skills, some good at athletics and sport, and, yes, some were even naughty. That’s what made teaching them such an interesting challenge.

Several major structural changes to the building were carried out during my time in office.

Firstly, the Victorian outdoor toilets were closed in 1998 to be replaced by new indoor ones in an extension to the existing cloakroom. It was always worrying when a child had to go round the outside of the building unsupervised.

Then, the kitchen area at the end of the school was opened out to become part of the infant classroom when not in use for meals, allowing us to take in more children.

Next, in the summer of 2002, a mezzanine upstairs room was built above the Junior classroom, which incorporated much needed extra teaching space and a proper office. The P.T.A. were once again a fantastic help. “Raising the Roof”, a name put forward by a parent, Christopher Dent, was given full support by the whole school. This was so successful, that a second upstairs room was built in 2006 for the use of the Infant children, thus enabling small groups of pupils to be removed from the larger class to receive more individualised teaching.

Finally, in 2007, a lovely covered outdoor area was erected on the south side of the Infant classroom where children could shelter, relax and play, no matter what the weather.

Each OFSTED Inspection seemed to be an improvement on the previous one and by May 2006 we were included in the country’s top 100 primary schools, our results placing us in approximately 80th position.

Christine Richards had retired in 2005 but came back to bring her experience to bear on a part time basis. Amanda Godber had been appointed as full-time Infant teacher in her stead.

My retirement coincided with Stephanie Turner’s in 2007.  My doctor had told me to go part-time due to the onset of diabetes. You can’t be a part-time head teacher, so I took his advice and retired a little early. I was given a surprise party at the Squash Club in Ilkeston. It was a memorable evening for me. My son had tricked me into believing I was going to play golf so I was completely fooled.

I had 17 wonderful years leading a great group of people. I consider it a special honour to have worked at Mapperley.

I believe the School Log Books were handed into the Archivists Office in Matlock before 2000.

I once read some entries from around 1912. In that year the school was to receive a Government Inspection. The log at the time, written by the head, outlined all the preparations being undertaken to ensure a good outcome. Needlework had been presented for display, neat handwriting had been gathered - even the caretaker had made special arrangements to have the school looking spick and span. The school was ready, the Head confident and happy!

The following week’s entry read, “I hereby tender my resignation since the school has failed its Inspection.”
The school has changed a lot in 100 years but the system is much the same!

Philip Millard

January 2012 

Philip Millard passed away on 16 January 2013.

A wonderful teacher who earnt great respect from pupils, parents and colleagues.

He will be very sadly missed


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