A new feature of the Field Society’s winter programme this year was the introduction on of a talk at the beginning of the season on the general topic of ‘Yorkshire Life’.
Dr John Ridley spoke to us about his experiences as a teacher and headteacher in small village primary schools in North Yorkshire. His time in schools took place against a backdrop of political pressure and upheaval in the period following the 1988 Education Reform Act, which among other significant changes introduced the National Curriculum and compulsory testing for primary school children. Set against this wider context, however, he emphasised the continuities in village school practices and focused on the creative and imaginative aspects of children’s learning through drama, clay work, outdoor education and links with city schools. His stories, including endearing anecdotes about individual children, demonstrated the positive affection which characterises his memories of a long and rewarding career.
John Ridley was a North Yorkshire village head teacher for 21 years.