Our school is situated in the heart of the popular, idyllic village of Tipton St John. Positioned between the Church and Village Hall, and within a short walk of the playing fields and tennis courts, all amenities used by the children are right on our doorstep. Split over two buildings the younger children are based on the lower site with the older age groups in the upper school.
The school site includes playgrounds and a large grassed area. Our gardening club takes responsibility for developing the grounds. We make regular use of the village facilities, the church, village hall, playing fields and the river as well as the village environment itself. We also take visits further afield to provide a variety of learning experiences. The school serves the village of Tipton St John and surrounding villages and rural area. A large number of our children travel from outside the designated catchment area.
The Foundation & Early History of the School
In 1843, in the fifth year of the reign of Queen Victoria, Tipton St John National School was opened under the auspices of Sarah Ireland. About 500 people lived in the village and prior to that date the teaching had been ‘conducted in a poor cottage’ and had been ‘ mainly supported by subscription of persons resident outside of the district’. The site for the building had been given by the Vicar of Ottery St Mary, the Revd. S.V. Cornish and £158.7s.11d had been raised towards the estimated total cost of £240.00. The Church of England National Society had donated £25.00 and the Honiton Board of Education £10.00. An application was made to the committee of the Council of Education (now the DCSF) for the balance, since the population of Tipton at that time was very poor and there was no possibility of raising any money from this quarter.
When the school opened the infants were upstairs and the juniors on the ground floor but in 1890 the stairs and the upper floor were removed and an extension built on the back to house the infants. It was thanks to the Church of England that Tipton got its school. The Church has always been close to its school both physically and spiritually. It was entirely appropriate therefore that in 1953 the school took its present status of ‘Voluntary Aided’. The school was completely re-furbished in 1992 with the upstairs being re-built. Following the refurbishment, the school increased to three classes.
Responsibility at Tipton
The school at Tipton St John, embracing children and staff, families, governors, the church, the village and the local area, is privileged to be both a large community and a mini-society. Children are invited to take on a range of responsibilities such as librarian, lunchtime telephone team member or lunchtime playleader. For these roles, applications have to be made and children undergo formal interviews with the Headteacher and governors.
All children are assigned to a “Family Group”. Each group is made up of children from all year-groups, from Reception to Year 6, with one or two members of staff. Family groups School Dinners go into lunch together, and each half term spend an afternoon playing games and talking together, following the Curriculum for PSHE and Citizenship. These groups provide a forum for discussion; decisions about improvements to the school often have their beginnings in our Family Groups. The groups enable children from across the school to get to know children outside their own immediate circle of friends. Older children “keep an eye out” for the little ones from their Family Group and the younger children come to realise that big children need looking-after too.