Lindfield Primary School reaches another milestone in its history next month as pupils and staff say farewell to headteacher Bob White. Bob, or ‘Mr White’ as he is known to generations of children, has spent the past 24 years at Lindfield Primary School, the last 12 as headteacher. During his time in Lindfield Bob has seen huge changes as the school has evolved from separate infant and junior schools, to an all-through primary school. He is currently overseeing the expansion project which will equip the school for the next generation of youngsters. Claire Cooper caught up with Bob as he prepares to leave a job he describes as ‘the dream ticket’.
by Claire Cooper
As a schoolboy in South London, Bob White always knew he wanted to be a teacher, unless, of course, he became a professional footballer, which in Bob’s case very nearly happened!
“I’ve always been sporty and while I was growing up played for Crystal Palace youth team,” Bob recalled. “I certainly had aspirations to become a professional footballer but after a serious injury and doubts over whether I was really good enough, I decided to focus on my studies. Fortunately my parents had always encouraged me to work hard, so I went off to University in Southampton with the aim of becoming a teacher.”
Football remained a passion for Bob and while at university he captained the Winchester Football team, also gaining his coaching badges.
After leaving university Bob took up his first teaching post at a primary school in Croydon. “Working in South London was challenging but I thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Bob, who also took up a coaching position at Crystal Place working evenings, weekends and during school holidays.
He stayed at the Croydon school for 10 years until a surprise phone call from Steve Coppell took him in a new direction. “Out of the blue I was offered the job of coaching director at Crystal Palace,” he said.
Bob jumped at the chance and stayed at the club for three years, coaching many young talented players including Gareth Southgate who went on to play for England.
“But I always knew I wanted to return to teaching,” said Bob, who had moved to Staplefield and was playing an active part in village life. “When I saw that Lindfield Primary School was looking for a deputy head I knew that was the job for me.”
Read the full story on page 14 of July's Lindfield Life magazine.