Keeping The Village School Alive

Geoff BearGeoffrey Bear ©Kate Chappell Photography

At the heart of Edale is its village school. Now the smallest school in Derbyshire, there are fewer than ten children currently attending, but the determination of the village to keep the school open and thriving is palpable. Over the centuries, pupil numbers have risen and fallen as local farming families have expanded or moved on, newcomers have brought young children for a life in the country or merely snapped up half-used holiday homes, and transport links have made access to other villages – and other schools – more viable. Today the odds are firmly stacked against the school, as they must be with small rural schools all over the UK, but with a village full of past pupils the passionate support of the community is vital to Edale School’s survival.

As part of the ongoing drive to keep the school’s head above water, local photographer Kate Chappell undertook a portrait project: capturing past pupils of Edale School in the playground they once knew so well. All spoke of the importance of their time at the school and how fundamentally their childhood in Edale had shaped their adult lives.

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All images ©Kate Chappell Photography