The legacy of founding headteacher Andrew Edge will always be a prominent feature at Dame Allan’s Junior School and Nursery after a brand-new yurt was dedicated to him to mark his retirement.
It was Andrew Edge’s vision to educate junior school children in one building and his dream was realised in 2012 when he oversaw the move to the current site in Hunter’s Moor, in Spital Tongues. Previously, junior school children at Dame Allan’s were split over two sites at the senior school in Fenham and Linden School in Forest Hall.
Under his leadership, the junior school and nursery has gone from strength-to-strength, and his colleagues and members of Dame Allan’s Junior School’s Parents’ Association thanked him for his excellent contribution by naming a new yurt installed in December ‘The Edge’ in his honour.
A plaque installed on the door of the yurt was unveiled at a surprise Royal Tea Party involving all children and staff.
Andrew said: “I am still recovering from the amazing experience and I am truly overwhelmed. It was a very touching moment when I found out the yurt was dedicated to me. Over the years, on my daily visits to classes, I have been able to observe first-hand the youngest children preserve the magic of childhood, celebrate all the beautiful and glistening facets of those early years of innocence and delight of the world around them along with a first class introduction to learning.”
“It has been a privilege to have been holding the reins during such an exciting time, and I have loved every minute of my time with Dame Allan’s,” continued Andrew. “I would like to thank those who have said kind words about my leadership but at the end of the day you are only as good as the team behind you. I have been blessed with a highly supportive line-up of teaching and support staff, whom I thank sincerely and will miss hugely.”
Andrew’s involvement with Dame Allan’s started 17 years ago when he joined as head of the junior department following a spell as deputy head and history teacher at Ravenscourt Park Preparatory School in South West London.
He returned to his native North East to join Dame Allan’s in 2001 and he then took on responsibility for Linden School in 2004 before being appointed as head of Dame Allan’s junior school four years later.
The creation of the new school in Hunter’s Moor was undoubtedly his proudest achievement in education, and hundreds of children have prospered, and will continue to do so for years to come, as a result of Andrews’s vision.
Dr John Hind, Principal of Dame Allan’s Schools, added: “There can be few better ways to enter retirement than to see the institution for which you hold ultimate responsibility in such good health and no-one deserves that more than Andrew who has moulded the school in his own image.”
Andrew was not the only member of staff at the junior school and nursery ending their long association with Dame Allan’s as Pam Pollock, who led the early years provision for many years, retired after 20 years at the school.
Geoff Laidler, the current headteacher at St Agnes Catholic Primary School in Crawcrook, will replace Andrew in September.