Glebelands School


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Marta Riddle

Listed in 1984 as Head of Religious Education Department, Marta, joined the school in September 1978, and remains to this day a stalwart of RE. 

“When I first joined the school there weren’t a lot of facilities for Music and the like. The Drama studios weren’t there. We used to have a travelling music teacher. Other changes I’ve seen include the LRC (Library as was), the Annex, Learning Support, Connexions and the Canteen, to name but a few. 

I thought it was a lovely place then, and it is still as nice as it was thirty years ago.” 

The Rev’d Andrew M. J. Haviland alias “Havers”

Andrew left the school in 2008, but his contribution to Glebelands is acknowledged by the students with whom he worked, and their parents, many of whom recognise an excellent role model. He was the Head of Year 7 from 1994 and went on to become the Head of Upper School and then Assistant Headteacher. 

He writes that he spent “fourteen very happy years at a very special school.” And goes to reminisce that he “had never been in a school that had such a positive community feel about it. The teachers, parents, governors and wider community all had one thing in mind - to do as much as we could do to ensure that the young people of Cranleigh were given the very best that could be provided. The student’s academic progress was of course important but it was the overall wellbeing of the students themselves that was considered paramount. In good times and when times became more challenging, it was that community spirit, combined with the high level of support that was given to each and every young person who walked through the school gates, that made the school such a remarkable place in which to work. 

That feeling, I feel, still pervades the school and is what makes Glebelands so special. As a community it goes that extra step to make a difference to nurture the students to fulfill their potential. Glebelands’ vision is to help young people in the Cranfold area to 'Learn With Confidence'. I feel that this is at the heart of what the school does best.” 

Sylvia Staples

Sylvia arrived at the school when Mr Cozens was Head and has filled a significant number of roles during her time at Glebelands, including some terms as a staff governor. Her commitment to the needs of all the children in her school life, as well as to their families, is very well known. In her own words… 

“I have many happy memories of those early days at Glebelands. Staff used to come back in the evenings and take part in a Drama group run by Betty Webb who was an inspirational Drama teacher. Staff used to take part in musical evenings as well. 

Every year there used to be a huge Summer Fair with each tutor group running a stall and lots of other attractions – tractors, steam engines, vintage cars as well as Art displays, gym displays, musical events etc. Mrs Margaret Henderson, who was a Head of Year, used to make every child in her year group bring in a tin or two for the stall which her year group ran. All the staff in the team had to bring in loads of tins and bottles too and no one, staff or students, wanted to let her down! It was the biggest tombola stall you had ever seen as a result. 

Another memory is the regular Friday lunchtime meeting for staff at The Boy and Donkey – long since disappeared. The flat in the Practical block holds many memories too, particularly for some staff – Jeff Holliday, Grant Buchanan, John Carter – but I won’t tell you why!! This is now a Head of Achievement and Head of Department office. 

Glebelands is a happy place to work and very much a family school. Students often tell me that I taught their Mum or their Dad or their Aunt or Uncle, but no one has yet said that I taught their Gran or Grandad!! 

There have been so many physical changes to the buildings over the years and changes to the staff and curriculum too but the ethos of the school has not changed. It is a place where staff and pupils support each other and where lifelong friendships are made. I am very proud to have been part of the school for so many years” 

Kathy Bell

Kathy arrived at Glebelands as a student in 1991, leaving four years later, and probably not expecting to return. However, in 2005 she did just that to take up her current post in the English Department. She is also the Student Leadership Co-ordinator. 

“Many things have changed. The alteration of my alma mater has been subtle but significant. New furniture. New faces. A new perspective. Ghosts of my teenage years are embedded in the paintwork of these walls and continue to remind me how important a school is in your life. 

I love the relationship I have with Glebelands: the security of its familiarity and the challenge of moving from being a learner to a teacher. From sitting behind a desk to standing at the front of the class. From pushing boundaries to defining them. 

And, like I did, students spend their time here establishing who they are, who they want to be and how they wish to get there. The learning that occurs here is so much more than Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic.” 

Barbara Pearson

Barbara joined the staff permanently in May 1984 as a Resource Assistant, having been a volunteer in the Library, and is now the doyenne of the Print Room. 

She remembers that it was “quite a challenge to understand the new machinery. I wore a white jacket because all the inks and other fluids from the machines would splutter everywhere.” 

The changes in technology are something she has experienced at first hand, recalling, for example, the arrival of the first colour photocopier and “thinking how amazing it was compared to what we had been used to.” 

Barbara also lives locally and feels that the school is “at the heart of Cranleigh and its community and in this job I feel I serve the community.” 

Speculating about the next 50 years, Barbara asks if “we will even be coming to school – or do you think we’ll just log on to a computer at home?” 

John Carter

John Carter arrived when Mr Cozens was Head in 1977, and is listed in the 1984 school information document as “Head of Lifeskills Department (Careers, Social Education, General Studies and non-examination courses). Now he is a pillar of the D&T Department. 

‘I was 22 years old when I joined the staff at Glebelands. It was a beautiful location compared to all the places I worked before. All the children were very polite and well-mannered. They haven’t really changed. I wouldn’t have stayed this long if I had changed my mind about how nice it is!” 

Derek Coward

To say ‘teacher for over 34 years’ is to paint a dull picture. Listed in 1984 as Physical Education teacher, Derek has served the school as a tutor, year leader, head of department, governor and parent. He’s a familiar figure around the school (and, indeed Cranleigh) in his shorts whatever the weather, and is part of many student memories of the school. In the words of one not-so-sporty individual in 2002, suffering from an Achilles tendon problem: “He was always firm but fair. He knew the difference between a skive and a genuine injury and made sure my Mum did too.” 

Derek’s good relationship with students has grown over a few generations, but it is undoubtedly little known that he is also quite prepared to make a cake for the 16th birthday of one of his tutor group! 

In the PE Department he has seen such changes as “a lot more equipment, like footballs, volleyballs, mats, gymnastic equipment and even three rather nice trampolines.” On being challenged about the use of these items Derek claims “the teachers jump on them instead of the students! We should have a club.” 

“Other changes include a heated floor to the sports hall as before it was sometimes warmer outside than in the hall. The PE kits have changed too. We used to wear house colours.” 

On the eve of retirement, he continues: “I’ve come to realise that students often do try their best and, bar a few cheeky ones, they generally succeed in this school.”