behind the page :: ridings school closure

I’ve been going through this year’s pictures, just digging around for some of my favourite shos, and came across this story which I shot at the beginning of July for the Times Educational Supplement (TES) on the closure of the Ridings School in Halifax.

The Ridings School was once dubbed Britain’s worst school, but was turned around by the new head Stuart Todd. In the end it was closed by the local authority, partly because of its reputation and history.  I was allowed in for the last day the school was open, with a lot of the school’s fixtures and fittings being sold off on ebay and to other schools.  It was a surprisingly emotional experience, with some staff glad to be going, but others very sad to see the school’s demise. This is a sequence of images I’d meant to post nearer the time, but here they are now.

I was the only photographer to have full access on the day – I’d already photographed Stuart and the school’s remaining pupils for a very positive story for the TES last year, after the school’s very impressive SATs results were released, and so we’d already established a relationship.  This story ran in the TES magazine, across three spreads I think. Most shoots for newspapers and magazines are pretty tight on time, and this was a much more reflective piece, with possibly a couple of hours just wandering around the school with a tripod, getting a visual feel of the end of an institution.