End of era for ‘tour de force’ headteacher

Head teacher Helen Ridge bids a fond farewell to the children of Hempshill Hall Primary School in Bulwell

Head teacher Helen Ridge bids a fond farewell to the children of Hempshill Hall Primary School in Bulwell

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One of Nottinghamshire’s most successful head teachers has retired following a career spanning 38 years.

Helen Ridge, described as a ‘tour de force’ at Hempshill Hall Primary School in Bulwell, bade a fond farewell at a special celebration.

Mrs Ridge, who took on the role of head teacher at Hempshill ten years ago, has left the school on a high note with OFSTED (the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) judging it to be ‘outstanding’ at a recent inspection.

She said: “It is the end of an era and the beginning of a new chapter in my life which has been enriched by wonderful pupils, supportive parents and family members, and fantastic colleagues.”

Cards, gifts, flowers and surprises were the order of the day for the popular head at a farewell party where former pupils and colleagues, and friends from times past helped to give her a memorable send off.

Sharing the special occasion with her was her husband Mike, the former deputy head at Nuthall’s Horsendale Primary, and family members.

Mrs Ridge began at Hempshill Primary in 1977 when the school had just four classes. It now has 12 classes and accommodates 480 pupils.

While raising a family - she has a son and daughter who are both teachers - she worked part-time as a supply teacher at Awsworth Primary, Gilthill, Larkfields Infants and Kimberley Primary. But it is at Hempshill Primary where she made her mark.

Her belief in a broad and aspirational curriculum provided the benchmarks for success.

A product of Greasley Beauvale Infants and then junior school, she went on to Eastwood’s Hall Park Grammar School. She later attended Norwich Teacher Training College before earning a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of East Anglia.