Ridgeway School in Wroughton held a special assembly just for staff on Monday 8 February to say goodbye to long-standing headteacher Steven Colledge – who leaves at the end of the current term.
Every member of staff gathered together for the formal announcement of Mr Colledge’s departure. He has been the headteacher at the school since 2006.
For the past two years, the day to day running of the school has been in the hands of Principal James Povoas, who will take on the official headteacher role.
Since 2014 Mr Colledge had taken on the role of an executive head teacher overseeing three different secondary schools, including Ridgeway, as part of the White Horse Federation. His official title is secondary director.
He said: “I suppose I better stress that my decision to go has been led by the Government changes to teacher pensions which would have meant that it would have not been in my interest to stay on.
“It’s meant that I am leaving about 18 months sooner than I would have liked. This has happened so quickly that I haven’t really thought about how my life will be different afterwards. It will definitely be a wrench not driving in to Ridgeway in the morning. It will be sad not to the see all the children and staff who make every day so enjoyable.”
Ridgeway School has 1,250 students aged 11 to 18 from across the Swindon area.
“It’s such a wonderful school,” added Mr Colledge. “During my time here I have seen so much happen. I like to think that children leave Ridgeway well equipped for life and that they are personable, confident and articulate – the type of person you would like to sit next to on a train.
“I am so proud of all of the achievements we’ve had here, from academic and sporting successes to simply helping a student who wasn’t doing so well achieve their full potential.
“It’s hard to think of specific achievements as there’s been so many. One that immediately comes to mind was the Christmas Showcase in December. It was not long after I had made my decision to leave and I was watching this show with 150 students taking part and just thinking to myself how amazing it all was.
“As a school we also do so much out in the community in Wroughton taking part in the carnival and our regular ‘Come Dine With Me’ lunch for elderly residents. I’m definitely going to miss it all.”
Mr Colledge came to Ridgeway after being head of the Grange School in Gloucester. As part of his remit for the White Horse Federation he has also been the executive head at Gloucester Academy helping it get out of special measures.
He originally started out as a history teacher and remembers standing in a playground in the Midlands where he grew up at the age of 14 and making the decision that he wanted to be an educator. As time went on, Mr Colledge moved on from teaching history to teaching IT.
“When I first started teaching was made up of a blackboard and chalk and then it moved onto whiteboards and eventually BBC computers,” he said. “Nowadays everything is computerised and it’s a bit of a financial strain on any school. At Ridgeway we have 650 computers. It has changed everything as far as education is concerned and we’ve all had to change with it.
“I have been very lucky at Ridgeway to work with such great staff with such great children and it will be a sad day when I eventually go.”
Mr Colledge’s last day will be Thursday March 24 and he will be working as an Ofsted inspector so will keep his hand in education.
Photos ©Calyx Top Picture: Assistant Principal Ron Piper, Executive headteacher Steven Colledge and Principal James Povoas