Harpenden school appoints board members

The family-run Harpenden school celebrates 70 years. Picture: Supplied

The family-run Harpenden school celebrates 70 years. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

A Harpenden school is celebrating 70 years of family-run leadership.

The family-run Harpenden school celebrates 70 years. Picture: Supplied

The family-run Harpenden school celebrates 70 years. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

The Hutchinson family has owned St Hilda’s School since 1950 and celebrated by appointing two new directors who are the third generation.

Families have seen generations of daughters pass through the doors of the school, and now the unique family atmosphere is entering a new dimension.

In 1950, it was bought by Colonel Donald “Wynne” Hutchinson and his wife Viola, and is still owned by their daughter, former headmistress Mary Piachaud, who spent her childhood living in the upper floors of the school.

Seventy years on, two Hutchinson granddaughters have now joined the family firm as directors.


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Emily Halliday and Amanda Dempster have both followed in the family tradition as teachers, so bring with them a wealth of educational expertise.

Emily is also a current St Hilda’s parent and therefore knows the school from every angle.

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They fill vacancies caused by the resignation of long-standing directors John Hutchinson, retired Concorde pilot and son of Colonel and Mrs Hutchinson, and former Harpenden businessman and councillor Michael Weaver.

The recent challenges of lockdown and returning to school have been demanding for all but the school provided a daily, live programme of lessons and enabled all its pupils to return before the end of the summer term.

The academic year ended in traditional style with the usual church service, the first held in St Nicholas Parish Church since lockdown. The Year 6 girls have marked the end of their time at St Hilda’s there for many years.

Headmaster Dan Sayer said: “I am very grateful to John and Michael for the many years of dedicated service that they have shown to the School. I am delighted to welcome a third generation of the Hutchinson family to our board. I know that Emily and Amanda will prove a huge asset to the team, with the experience they bring from schools outside our area.”

St Hilda’s has educated girls in Harpenden and St Albans since 1891.

St Hilda’s moved to Douglas Road in the early years of the 20th century.

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