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Ridgeway School Kempston

Ridgeway School on completion [PY/PH53/1]
Ridgeway School on completion [PY/PH53/1]

Ridgeway Special School opened in 1974. It is named after the large open field which lay in the vicinity until broken up during the inclosure of Kempston in 1804. Until 1989 the school lay in the civil parish of Kempston Rural but at that date it was transferred into Kempston [CDP89].

The school was created by local education authority Bedfordshire County Council. It has always been a school catering for children from all over the county so long as they have a physical disability. This includes a broad range of disabilities including spinal and other injuries, cerebral palsy, brain tumours and many other life-altering conditions. Children can, and many do, spend their whole educational life at Ridgeway from nursery through to nineteen. Given that the major criterion for admission is a physical disability the school is probably the most varied in the county in terms of academic ability.

On 1st April 2009 Bedfordshire County Council was abolished. Its functions in the north of the county were taken over by Bedford Borough Council. This was a district, or second tier, authority which was upgraded to a unitary council with both first and second tier responsibilities – a county and district council rolled into one. In the rest of the county (outside Luton) the corresponding unitary authority is called Central Bedfordshire. At the time of writing [2013] Ridgeway, due to the specialist nature of its provision, continues to accept children from both Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire as well as children from outside the county.

The following list gives all the sources relating to Ridgeway School held by Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service. Due to the terms of the Data Protection Act records containing personal details of living individuals will be closed in total, or in part, depending on the nature of the information.

Ridgeway School July 2007
Ridgeway School July 2007

  • CA2/580: school building file: 1970-1982;
  • PY/PH192/2: photographs: c.1974;
  • E/SA2/4/1: administration file: 1974-1985;
  • PY/E2/2/291: tenancy agreement: 1975;
  • E/SE2/4/2: unhappiness in Luton over older children formerly at Lady Zia Wernher being transferred to Ridgeway: 1975-1978;
  • CA8/1040: building maintenance file: 1976-1984;
  • E/SE2/4/1: Ridgeway Special School file regarding pupils attending classes at Hastingsbury Upper School: 1977-1985;
  • PY/PH53/1: photographs of interior and exterior of school: 1978;
  • E/SE2/3/1: minutes of meeting of the four Kempston special school heads: 1981;
  • E/TE3/5: countywide special schools newsletter: 1981;
  • SS/DL1/3/1: correspondence regarding provision for visually impaired children: 1985-1991;
  • E/TE2/2/S/5: details of school: 1986;
  • E/PM6/2/3: replies to a questionnaire on corporal punishment: 1986;
  • E/PS1/1/4: correspondence file regarding possible Harpur Trust financial help for Ridgeway pupils attending Kielder Activity Centre: 1989-1990;
  • E/PS1/1/5: correspondence: 1989-1990.