History of the School
The original Church of England School at Bledlow Ridge was established in 1863 and consisted of 48 girls. In 1868 St Paul's Church was built. The school was then known as St Paul's School, Bledlow Ridge and there were just 29 girls on roll. The 1870 Education Act made schooling compulsory for all children aged between 5 and 10 years and all schools were inspected to see if they were up the required standards. A statutory notice in December 1872 stated that the school needed to provide for 85 children so additional accommodation was required. The school managers realised that the Church could not afford this, so the Church School had to close in 1873.
When the school reopened 14 months later in April 1874 it was a Victorian Board School. You can still see this old school building at the corner of Chinnor Road and Church Lane. 24 pupils were admitted, joined by 40 more a few months later. Interestingly desks, slates, a cupboard and blackboard were not ordered until after the new school had started. The first record of an Inspector's Report of the Bledlow Ridge Board School in 1875 stated:
'The children in this school are remarkably well grounded in Elementary Subjects, though only 2 were presented in the second standard, and none above it. The children between 6 and 7 require more careful instruction in numeration (Maths).... A competent Sewing Mistress should be engaged at once, and more specimens of needlework must be shown next year.'
After this Inspection Report, the School Master's salary was decreased by £20 to £50 per annum!
Mr. Kitchener became Headmaster in 1925 and he wrote that the school buildings met the needs of the community, which consisted of 50 flint cottages and 10 small farms, stretching for a couple of miles. These together supplied 50 children of school age with another 12 coming from Saunderton. He tells of the 4 bucket closets (toilets), no staffroom and one small washing place with no hot water. Pupils brought their own food and walked to school whatever the weather. The effects of this were seen in the worn floorboards and door mats, as heavy nailed boots were a necessity. The school car park was the playground.
The current school building was started in 1960 and completed in 1962 at a cost of £27,141. It was designed for 100 children with 4 classrooms, a hall, kitchen and cloakrooms. (The Middle School Extension was not built until much later.) Mr. Vince was the Headmaster from 1962 until 1979, when Mr. Ray-Smith became Head. Miss Rochefort started at Bledlow Ridge in January 1995. She oversaw many changes during her time here, including recent building work allowing for an additional classroom, a purpose-built ICT Suite, an outdoor classroom for Class R, modern cloakrooms and a well-equipped library. Miss Rochefort retired after 21 highly successful years in July 2016.
Today Bledlow Ridge School caters for 177 children aged 4-11 and is looking forward to the next exciting chapter in it's long history.