Riddlesdown Collegiate recently celebrated its 60th Anniversary, having opened in January 1958
Although our school has had a number of subtle changes to its name over the years, and significant changes to its legal status, it remains synonymous with its location – Riddlesdown. Having been built in 1957 and after opening in January 1958 with 230 students and fourteen teachers, there have been many changes and constant improvement. The school grew to over 1260 students at one stage, more than five times its original size. Then the Local Authority set an admission limit to reduce the maximum size of the school’s yearly intake. It was first reduced from 240 to 210 and then from 210 to 180. This was a part of the plan to prevent further school closures and to even out the sizes of the remaining 11-16 schools in the Borough. New legislation then gave control of admission limits back to the governing bodies of schools. Over the last 20 years as a Grant Maintained, Voluntary Aided, Trust School and now as an Academy, admission procedures have been the responsibility of the Board of Governors (and now the Academy Trust) and the Collegiate now admits 328 students per year and has over 1900 students, 120 teachers and a similar number of support staff. Since 1996 Riddlesdown has delivered Sixth Form education on site, originally in partnership with de Stafford College. In September 2007 this partnership ended and the Sixth Form became a full part of Riddlesdown. In September 2009 the School officially became Riddlesdown Collegiate. A franchise agreement at the same time began with Woodcote High School through which 73 Year 12 students were registered to Riddlesdown but taught at that school. This franchise arrangement terminated on 31st July 2010 when Woodcote High School became an 11-19 school.
This franchise arrangement led to planning for a longer term partnership between our two schools. As a result, the two schools formed a Trust on 1st April 2011. This Trust operated as an Umbrella Trust, appointing a minority of Directors to each of the school’s Academy Trusts. However, it became clear that this Trust did not add value to the work of the partners within it and was dissolved.
Riddlesdown Collegiate became an Academy on 1st June 2012. As well as greater control over budgetary matters, this opened up the opportunity for other freedoms for the benefit of our students and staff. Riddlesdown Collegiate Academy Trust (RCAT) delegated to a Board of Directors the strategic leadership and oversight of Riddlesdown Collegiate. In July 2015 RCAT was approved as a sponsor of other academies; as a result there are now three levels to the governance structure – Members of the Academy Trust, a Board of Directors of the Academy Trust, and a Local Governing Body for Riddlesdown Collegiate. In November 2015, the Academy Trust changed its name to The Collegiate Trust (TCT) and Mr Gordon Smith relinquished his role as Principal of Riddlesdown Collegiate in order to focus on his role of CEO of the Trust. In this role, he oversees the work of the Principals of each of the schools within The Collegiate Trust.
Riddlesdown has therefore had five headteachers throughout its history. Each has developed a particular aspect of the school while building on the strengths and traditions of his predecessors.
1958 – 1968 Mr Donald MacKay Headmaster
1968 – 1987 Mr Bernard Goss Headmaster
1987 – 2006 Dr David Dibbs Headmaster
2006 – 2015 Mr Gordon Smith Principal
2015 – current Mr Soumick Dey Principal