Lindfield Primary School

Bob White - Village People

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.

Lindfield Primary School building work progresses

By Bob White, Headteacher, Lindfield Primary School

The building work at the Lindfield Primary School started just before the summer holidays. The main update I would like to say is that everything is very much on schedule.

 The car park was finished in time for the start of term, which released the space for the two building parts of the project. The teaching block and hall foundations (groundwork) are very much underway, whilst the new School Office and Community Room extension started in the middle of last month. 

We are still hoping for the project to be completed by June 2014, all in good time for the new school year starting in September 2014. It’s exciting knowing how much our teaching, learning and community facilities will be enhanced. Obviously health and safety requires ongoing monitoring and we liaise closely with Chris Blain the site manager for Sunninghill. Chris spoke to our children at assemblies at the beginning of term, emphasising important safety aspects at all times during the course of the project. We are hoping to arrange some scheduled and supervised site visits for the children over the next few months so they can see different stages of the building project progress until its completion.

Lindfield Primary School expansion

By Claire Cooper

This month sees the start of a new chapter in the life of Lindfield Primary School as work begins on a £4million seven classroom extension.

The building work, which also includes an additional school hall and office space while maintaining all playgrounds, fields and woodland, will provide state of the art facilities for present and future pupils.

Originally built for infants (aged 5 to 7 years), the little school at Black Hill has evolved over the years to meet the needs of village children. The millennium year in 2000 saw the biggest change when the school merged with the juniors, formerly housed on Lindfield Common, and  eight new classrooms were added to the site. 

Now, as the village continues to grow, the school is set to reach another milestone as it prepares to become a ‘three form entry’ primary school.

Read the full story on p.8 of May's magazine...