School is back on good terms with the public
An infant school that has struggled to attract children in recent years is undergoing a major turnaround in fortunes. Community editor MORT SMITH talks to two headteachers – one leaving and one arriving – about the metamorphosis
DENHAM Village Infants School is a delightful place for young children to take their first steps along the educational path.
The school, in Cheapside Road, was built in 1878 but boasts a host of modern amenities for children aged four to seven and is rapidly attracting growing interest from parents across South Bucks, Hillingdon and farther afield.
Behind the Victorian edifice the place has a light and airy feel with big, high classrooms, computers in nearly every one, interactive white boards and an impressive stock of equipment to keep the little ones active and engaged.
Not so long ago, it was struggling to attract new pupils and the roll had fallen to just 22 children. But there has been a remarkable transformation in the past few months, largely due to the efforts of temporary headteacher Hazel Bascombe, who stood in following the departure of the previous head.
Mrs Bascombe, who lives in Hughenden, was deputy head at Chalfont St Giles Infants School.
Her aim was to make the Denham school a welcoming and friendly place where youngsters could feel safe and secure while coming to terms with the learning process.
She said: “I’ve loved every minute here – and I think I’m handing over the school to the new head with a much more optimistic outlook.
“The roll is now up to 35 children and although some will be moving on at the end of term, we have 19 prospective new pupils for September, which would take us up to around 45 pupils.
“Still small enough for each of the children to get a lot of individual attention but not too big to manage.
“We also hope to start a nursery class in January with six children although this could rise to 10 in the fullness of time.”
every minute here – and I think I’m handing over the school to the new head with a much more optimistic
Mrs Bascombe will take up the post as head of Jordans Infants School from September, when she will be replaced by Nick Andrews, the current deputy head at Hughenden Primary School.
Mr Andrews, who is married with two children, is really looking forward to continuing the renaissance of Denham Village Infants.
He said: “This school has tremendous potential to be at the centre of the local community. We have great facilities, excellent staff and a unique opportunity to offer the children a relevant start to their education with traditional values.”
Mr Andrews, who used to run his own theatre company before training as a teacher, says it’s a privilege to be allowed to work with children at one of the most formative stages of their lives.
He added: “I want to continue the open door policy at Denham Village Infants that Mrs Bascombe has put in place.
“I’d invite anyone who is looking for a place for their child to come and have a look round.”
Visit www.denhamvillageinfant.ik.org for more information.
COMING AND GOING: Incoming headteacher Nick Andrews and departing head Hazel Bascombe outside Denham Village Infants School