School enters a new era as headteacher retires

Former head of Arbor Prep School and Cherry Trees Montessori Nursery  Wendy Compson
Former head of Arbor Prep School and Cherry Trees Montessori Nursery Wendy Compson
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AN INDEPENDENT school is entering a new era with new owners and the retirement of its founding headteacher.

Arbor Prep School and Cherry Trees Nursery, in Risby, which caters for 250 children, has been bought by the London-based Montessori St Nicholas Charity.

The move follows the departure of head Wendy Compson, who started the then Cherry Trees School 30 years ago.

The school and nursery follows the Montessori method, which counts the need for freedom within limits as part of its child development programme. Mrs Compson, who started the school because there were ‘no suitable nurseries’ for her daughter, said: “We set up in our living room with two pupils and 30 years later more than 2,000 children have passed through our doors. Now that we are enrolling the second generation with children of past pupils, I think it’s time for me to take a step back. My goal has been for every child leaving Cherry Trees to be equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence to make a difference to the world around them.”

More than 600 former and current pupils attended a service at St Edmundsbury Cathedral to celebrate her retirement and the 30th anniversary.

Mrs Compson will remain a consultant to the school next term as it changes ownership.

She is also volunteering at the Olympic Games in the press centre.

Philip Bujak, chief executive of the Montessori charity, said: “The trustees and I look forward to developing the already excellent ethos in the school and to creating educational facilities that are second to none in the region.”