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Former headteacher of New Milton Junior School John Crisp described as “inspirational” has died at age of 76

A FORMER headteacher of New Milton and Lymington junior schools, described as a “visionary leader with a love for children”, has died at the age of 75.

John Crisp was appointed head at New Milton Junior in 1986 after moving from the same role at Lymington Junior.

John Crisp was head of New Milton Junior School
John Crisp was head of New Milton Junior School

He was credited by his former deputy at New Milton, Elaine Rich, as “transforming the school into a vibrant place which he took into the 21st century”.

“Under John it thrived and became a school of note and one which was well respected in the area,” she added.

“Children were at the heart of everything he did. His motto was ‘see that ceiling, that is only a barrier, reach though that and reach for the stars’. He had high expectations of pupils and staff in regards their academic achievement, their experiences and their behaviour.

“He always inspired the children to achieve the best they could. He cared desperately about them and wanted to improve their expectations.

“John always had an open-door policy for his office, so he could see the children going by, and the pupils always knew they could go and see him whenever they wanted to.”

Born in Hereford, he was educated at Hereford grammar school. He did teacher training at Culham College near Oxford, starting his career in south London.

John Crisp was head of New Milton Junior School
John Crisp was head of New Milton Junior School

John moved to the local area at the age of 36 when he became headteacher at Lymington Juniors. He met second wife Sue here and they had a beachside wedding in Cuba in 2015.

Elaine said: “We started at New Milton Juniors on the same day and left on the same day 22 years later when we both retired. John was someone who overcome barriers and met challenges by searching for ways he could achieve what was needed.

“He involved staff, pupils, and parents in all aspects of school life. He consulted with parents on matters and always wanted their feedback and involved them in important decisions.

“John was also good at searching for grants and other ways of raising money for things the school needed. He introduced many initiatives to improve it.

“He worked very hard to get the very best for it. When he started the school really needed to be brought up to date and he took the staff with him in achieving that. “

Elaine said John, who died after developing leukaemia, was “well respected” by his peers in the educational community adding: “He was recognised for his ‘excellent leadership’ by Ofsted. Other teachers would come to the school to see what we were doing so well.

“Under John, New Milton Juniors went from having about eight classes to 17. “

She said that John wanted the school to be “at the heart of the local community” explaining how he introduced initiatives for pupils to go to care homes in the area to meet residents, and “developed good links” with local charities.

John had a “very good sense of humour”, said Elaine, and that above all she would remember him for “his dedication to the school, the pupils, the staff and the parents”.

She said: “The day he retired was a very sad day. The school was a major part of his life, but he left a strong legacy which survives to this day. They even use the motto that John devised 22 years before – ‘Work together towards our very best’.”

Donations to the Jigsaw Unit at Bournemouth hospital can be made through the funeral directors website at www.millerbrosfunerals.co.uk

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