First headteacher of White Styles Middle School in Sompting will be remembered fondly

The first ever headteacher of the former White Styles Middle School in Sompting will be fondly remembered by many families in the area.

Monday, 7th September 2020, 4:22 pm
Glyn Riby was the first headteacher at White Styles Middle School

Glyn Riby, who was headteacher of the school from its opening in 1975 until he retired in 1990, passed away at the beginning of August after a short illness.

Mr Riby and his family moved to Sompting in 1973, when he was initially appointed headteacher of Sompting Junior School in Loose Lane.

He later oversaw the gradual transfer of pupils to the new school building and White Styles Middle School was officially opened in 1975.

Mr Riby, centre, alongside other teachers at the school in 1981

Mr Riby was also instrumental in setting up the community centre in the old school building, which is now known as the Harriet Johnson Centre.

His former colleague, Kevin Woodgate, said: “Mr Riby was extremely proud of the new school and played a key role in developing a stimulating learning environment for the children.

“Visitors to the school were always impressed with the immaculate presentation of the building, enhanced with beautiful flowers and plants – evidence of his green fingers – and wonderful displays, celebrating the children’s work in a range of different subjects and media. 

“Former pupils will remember that Mr Riby was a keen supporter of the arts: practical activities played a major part in the school curriculum, alongside more formal, academic subjects.

“The children in the upper years originally worked in groups, three afternoons a week: drawing, painting, pottery, craftwork, plus cookery and practical science lessons were a key feature of the school week.

“White Styles was also the first Middle School in the Lancing/Sompting cluster group to have a school orchestra timetabled into its curriculum.

“Mr Riby also initiated the setting up a local schools’ music festival, working closely with the music department at Boundstone School.

“It was also during the early years of the school that Mr Riby instigated many fund-raising schemes, which resulted in the school purchasing its own minibus.

“Many former pupils will remember going on trips and visits, travelling to different sporting events and swimming lessons plus, of course, annual residential trips (three times a year) to the Forest of Dean.

“The children stayed in a large cottage which belonged to Mr Riby’s previous school and he played a very hands-on role in its refurbishment!

“Mr Riby loved the area and was a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide.”

Mr Riby continued to work as a supply teacher in Worthing for a few years after his retirement.

In 2006, he and his wife moved to Pembrokeshire, South Wales – his home county – where he enjoyed a long and happy retirement, developing his passion for gardening to the full.