New headmaster takes the reins at Cleve House

A Bristol independent school has a new headmaster for the new academic year

Craig Wardle takes over at Cleve House School in Knowle in succession to husband and wife team David and Elaine Lawson, who have retired after 28 years at the school. 

Mr. Wardle moves to Bristol from Norfolk, where he was headmaster at St. Nicholas House in North Walsham. 

A history graduate and qualified school inspector, Mr. Wardle was also headmaster at Charters Ancaster College in Bexhill, Sussex.

He says it will be “business as usual” at the school on Wells Road, which takes pupils aged three to 11, although its nursery has been re-branded as Little Cleve Nursery. 

“I’ve been teaching for 28 years and love it more than ever, although actually I got into the profession by mistake – I had wanted to be a solicitor until I bumped into one of my old teachers while I was at university,” says Mr. Wardle. 

“Cleve House has a wonderful tradition of two and even three generations of the same family coming back to the school and we want that to continue, as well as appealing to a wider demographic. 

“The traditional ethos, small class sizes and nurturing atmosphere for which the school is renowned will remain constant, as will the range of extra-curricular activities and specialist teaching on offer, for example in French and music. 

“However we will be looking to extend the already superb range of opportunities available to our pupils, combining the best traditions of the school with a forward-thinking curriculum and teaching methods. 

“Mr. and Mrs. Lawson are a hard act to follow and I am hugely grateful for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get started and to begin getting to know the staff, pupils and parents.”

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