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The Wardens of IVC

Exhibition Piece: There have been 8 heads of Impington Village College since it first opened in 1939. This picture shows the portraits of the individuals responsible for the successful running of the College. Apart from Robert Campbell, all were titled as ‘Warden’.

By Robert Campbell, Principal; IVC

Warden.  The name evokes one who protects or who guards.  It’s main connotation will be connected with those who look after those in prison, but it also links to those who play a key role in churches, leading and setting a good example to the parishioners, encouraging unity and peace.  Either way, it was the unique title given to those who led the village college to mark its distinctiveness and to set it apart from the name most commonly used then to denote the head of a school, Headmaster/mistress.  The name ‘Warden’ showed that this was no ordinary school.  It acknowledged that the head of the village college was entrusted with a responsibility to look after something special, in this case, the unique vision for education founded by Henry Morris in his memorandum of 1924.  By calling the post ‘Warden’, Morris ensured that it made clear the work that’s involved was beyond that of simply educating children aged 11-16 (or 18), but that it should ‘lie athwart the daily lives of the community it served’.  There would be ‘no leaving school’ and to encourage adults to view the village college positively, the name ‘Warden’ was nurtured.  But there’s more.

The name ‘Warden’ reminds us that there’s something special here that’s worth protecting and guarding.  In Gropius’s original design for IVC, the Warden’s office sits proudly in the centre of the Prom, open and accessible to all.  There’s a set of values enshrined in the post of Warden that’s about keeping the Henry Morris vision alive.  In the book produced for the 50th Anniversary in 1989, Sylvia West wrote (of the challenges looking forward to the 21st Century) that ‘vision and humanistic spirit continue to prevail’.  When I was appointed in 2007, John Brackenbury wrote to me congratulating and reminding me of the heritage of the College.  At our first meeting, we discussed the importance of the community dimension and he felt assured that the College was in good hands in that respect.  I hope I have lived up to John’s expectations.  When we converted to Academy status in 2012, we made sure that the Trust reflected the community and Partnership Governors continue to be appointed from community nominations.

It will not have been unnoticed that I am the first ‘Principal’ of IVC.  This was the choosing of the Governing Body at the time and done to reflect the more modern times we inhabit.  IVC was the last village college to change from ‘Warden’ to ‘Principal’ and although it has happened, I am in my heart, in my work and in my outlook a ‘Warden’ of the village college.





The Wardens of Impington Village College

1939-1949                   John Parr

1949-1957                   Roy Davey

1957-1977                   John Brackenbury

1977-1985                   Ken Dunning

1985-1997                   Sylvia West

1997-2006                   Jackie Kearns

2006-2007                   Sandra Morton (Acting Warden)

2007 to present day    Robert Campbell (Principal)