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Education

The only school in the village is Ropley (C of E) Pri- mary School. It was founded in 1826 by the Rev. Samuel Maddock, vicar at the time, with William Faichen as teacher in charge.

The original building on Petersfield Road was replaced by a new building on Church Street in 1869. Enlarged and modernised in 1960, it expanded from 1970 onwards, and became increasingly in- volved in village life, with links being forged be- tween the church and the school. The school badge was designed in 1977 by Mr Tony Gilliam.

Further building took place during the 1990’s. Projects included two new infant classrooms to re- place the temporary classrooms, new entrance and admin facilities, double glazing of 1960’s classrooms and re-tiling the Victorian roof. In 1997 the grounds were extensively landscaped and a sixth classroom added.

The school presently has 163 pupils. Of the 125 children 5-10 years old identified in the question- naire and eligible to attend, two thirds are being educated at the Ropley school. The survey showed that there were 88 children between 0 and 4 years which would indicate that the school should be able to meet the apparent needs of the village for the next 5 years, assuming that one third continue to be edu- cated outside Ropley.

The school receives very positive support from parents and families, with a great deal of commit- ment given by friends and parents groups in raising finance through fairs, jumble sales, and events. Given that it operates in the top quartile of the Na- tional Performance Tables it is sad to see that 36% of eligible children in Ropley go to schools outside the village, presumably to private schools. As a result the school’s catchment area is wider than it needs to be, it doesn’t reflect the village as it could do, and chil- dren grow up in the village without mixing with their local contemporaries.

The school has excellent facilities and allows the local community to hire many of them, but only 31% of the respondents were aware of this policy.

In relation to other educational facilities, 39% of the respondents believe that after school clubs were needed. It is worth noting that much of this support also came from people who did not send their chil- dren to Ropley school. There was also a high level of support (41%) for a holiday play scheme, in addi- tion to the two week holiday family swimming club run by the school.

The highest support was for Adult Education evening classes. 313 (69%) people voted in favour, with computing (44%), keep fit (41%), and lan- guages arts and crafts (both 34%) being the most popular subjects.

The most recent Ofsted report gave high marks to the school, saying that the ethos was excellent, with pupils working well and committed to high standards. The pre-school induction is good and valued by new parents and the special educational needs are also good.

To balance the account of life in Ropley by Grace Strong earlier in the Appraisal we include this recent imaginative letter by pupils of Ropley school to the founder, William Faichen…

The older flint- faced part of Ropley School

Ropley at the Millennium — 31

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