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Big changes in store for independent school attended by Princess Diana

PUBLISHED: 11:27 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:54 06 February 2019

Peter Agate, the new principal of Riddlesworth Hall School, where Lady Diana was educated. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Peter Agate, the new principal of Riddlesworth Hall School, where Lady Diana was educated. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Archant

The new head teacher of a school attended by Diana, Princess of Wales, has said he wants to put the institution back on the map.

Riddlesworth Hall Preparatory School where Princess Diana spent some of her childhood. Picture: ANTONY KELLYRiddlesworth Hall Preparatory School where Princess Diana spent some of her childhood. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Pete Agate, 42, became head of Riddlesworth Hall School, in Diss two months ago.

The independent day and boarding school for children aged three to 13 was home to the late princess for four years in the 1970s, when it was an all girls school.

Mr Agate started out his career in education in Hertford, before working on restructuring schools for several years.

He said: “I wanted to put all my knowledge into one place. We are trying to make sure the children make lots of community awareness progress. We want to give something back to the community.

Peter Agate, the new principal of Riddlesworth Hall School, where Lady Diana was educated. Picture: Ella WilkinsonPeter Agate, the new principal of Riddlesworth Hall School, where Lady Diana was educated. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

“I think it’s healthy for the children and the school to learn life skills, not just the academic side of things.”

Last month pupils visited care homes in Eye, East Harling, and Old Buckenham to perform songs for the elderly residents.

The new head has moved into the school’s 35 acres of grounds, woodland and gardens. He said: It’s beautiful, I live in a wonderful Georgian manor house. The borders are my extended family, it’s very hands on. We have seen a massive increase in enquiries since I took over, which has been lovely.”

As well as Diana, Riddlesworth has a number of other interesting alumni and connections. The school is owned by a direct descendant of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, was attended by global designer Lulu Guinness, and is currently home to high IQ society Mensa’s youngest member.

Mr Agate said: “Mr Lingtao bought the school from Col Keith Boulter in 2015. He’s a nice chap. He loves the school and wants the children to be happy. It seems not to be about the money but about giving back and getting it right.”

Kong Lingtao, 76th-generation descendant of Confucius, is chairman of Confucius International Education Group (CIEG).

Riddlesworth is now making efforts to expand the school’s horizons, encouraging more international students from America and China, and creating a curriculum focused on broader personal development instead of academic success.

Mr Agate said: “I think we do want to put the school on the map.”

Riddlesworth is holding an open day on March 1.

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