‘Inspirational’ principal’s 80th

Pictured (from left) Helen Page, school business manager and Mrs Page's daughter-in-law, Sheila Page, principal, and Julie Miles,  head teacher.
Pictured (from left) Helen Page, school business manager and Mrs Page's daughter-in-law, Sheila Page, principal, and Julie Miles, head teacher.

Celebrations have been held to mark the 80th birthday of an ‘inspirational’ principal at a school near Boston, one she opened 23 years ago.

Sheila Page, of Bicker Preparatory School and Early Years, turned 80 this month, but says she feels half that age.

“I don’t feel any different from when I was 40,” she said. “I just keep on going.”

Mrs Page opened the school in 1994, fulfilling an ambition she had held since early childhood to have her own school.

Previously, she had worked for Lincolnshire County Council as an early years primary school adviser and before that a headteacher in New York. Her career in education started in 1969 when she launched a play school at her home.

Her desire to have her own school stemmed from the positive experience she had as a pupil growing up near Peterborough.

“We had this lovely little school,” she said. “There weren’t many children there, 20 at tops.

“It was very much nature-orientated, about appreciating things that were around us.”

“We loved it,” she added.

These experiences would help shape the school that Mrs Page would create; class sizes are kept small, for instance, and there is also a six-acre, private nature reserve to aid learning.

The school was in a derelict state when Mrs Page’s late husband William (‘Billy’) bought it for her in 1992. It opened with just three children, but positive word of mouth would see its number soon grow to its maximum capacity of 80.

Mrs Page held the role of headteacher up until two years ago when she stepped down as William became ill.

She continues as principal, however, overseeing all that goes on at the school.

On whether she has ever considered retiring, she said: “Never. I never will.

“I have done it all my life and I just love it.”