About Phil Aldridge!

Hi there, I’m Phil. I took early retirement from teaching in December 2009 , after 35 years in the profession, 20 of those as a primary school head in Gloucestershire. 

My wife, Chris, continues to work  as a primary school teacher. I have two daughters. Nicci lives in Oxford and  is a secondary school languages teacher in Bucks. Gemma is a features journalist based in London.  

My reason for taking early retirement was primarily to adopt a more sensible work/life balance. I also wanted a fresh opportunity to utilise my expertise and skills in a setting where I can help make a real difference. To this end  I would like to spend the early part of my retirement doing voluntary work overseas and have already committed to spending a month, in May 2010,  as part of the Book Bus Project which operates in Zambia, hence the Out of Africa blog.

I am also currently undertaking training with VSO and have recently been offered a placement in Rwanda  as an education manager advisor. If everything goes to plan I will be blogging from Rwanda for three months starting in September.

If you would like to find out more about VSO and the tremendous work they do in developing world then please visit http://www.justgiving.com/Phil-Aldridge

55 Responses

  1. Hello Mr aldridge,

    It was interesting to read about what you are going to be doing in the summer and September. We are all looking forward to hearing your news of how you are coping in Africa.

    At school the new head teacher is very kind. We in y6 have just done 2 dance festivals at the Town Hall and at Balcarace.

    Good luck and hope to see you soon,
    Jessica Smiles
    P.S I hope Forest make the premiership i dont think my dads side have any chance of making it through.

    • Hello Jess
      Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m pleased you are getting on well with Mr Humphrey and that you have enjoyed taking part in the dance festivals. I’m looking forward to my Africa vist and will try to keep adding things to the blog while I am away.
      Unfortunately if Forest get to the play off final I will miss a trip to Wembley. I will be in Zambia, desperately trying to find the result!
      Enjoy your Easter holiday.

  2. bravo Phil pour ce que tu fais.

    • Merci beaucoup. J’apprecie tes penses Philippe. Ciao!

  3. Hi Masambula

    (Don’t know what it means, he was a wrestler in the 1960s) Hope things are going well and you have settled into your new way of life. Things are pretty dull here weatherwise, not so for you I am sure? Down to Bath on Saturday to see them play Leeds. If they win its Leicester in the play-offs away. The train will hit the buffers there I think. Interesting reading your account of Cape Town. My top tip for when Nikki comes out. Take Taxi to Camps Bay (about £10) and eat at a restaurant called ‘Blue’. Its beautiful and stiill inexpensive compared to UK. Quite an experience. Try to get a table overlooking the bay!

    Well done my old mate. We are all thinking of you.


  4. It all sounds pretty amazing Phil. Get your diary out when you get back, I want to hear all about it!

    • I’ll look forward to it!

      High tea at the royal Livingstone Hotel yesterday followed by cocktails as the sun set over the river – just up your street!

  5. hello its felix and jason

    • Hello Felix and Jason!

      It was a nice surprise to find your comment on my blog. I’m really pleased that Severn Class have had the chance to read about my time in Zambia. I hope I will be able to come and see you all and show you some of my photographs, once I get back in England.

      Best wishes to Severn Class and everyone at Naunton Park School.

      Mr A

  6. Hello Mr.Aldridge this is Luca and Megan from Severn class typeing to you because you are doing something really good everyone at the school is right behind you . we miss you.

    From Luca and Megan

    • Hello Megan and Lucca

      It was lovely to read your comment. I’m pleased you have been able to read my blog. I hope, when I return to England, I will be able to come into Naunton Park and tell you more about my Zambia trip.

      Please send my best wishes to everyone in Severn Class.

      Mr A

      • Hey mr A
        how are you did you eat the caterpillars in your pasta?
        hope you are loveing it in Africa

        From Luca and Megan
        We miss you

      • Hello Luca and Megan. None of the other volunteers fancied caterpillars in their pasta. I’ve still got them in a plastic bag in the corner of my tent. If They last untilI get home I’ll bring them in to school to show you.

  7. Hi Mr Aldridge remember me?

    I am so juealous can I have your Gloucester RFC top it will fit (In 20 years:[ )

    please reply

    • Hello Ewan. How could I forget you! I’m afraid I treasure the Gloucester top too much to give it away! I hope you are enjoying the blog.

      • Mr A

        What has been your favorite part of the trip so far? When are you getting back what you are doing is really kind and generous:)

        please reply (again!)

      • It’s all been so fascinating Ewan, it’s difficult to know where to start. The work with the children is fun and I’ve met a few characters. The Zambian people don’t have much but are generally very friendly and welcoming.

        In my leisure time the two stand out things have been the safari in Chobe National Park and the microlight flight over Victoria Falls. two experiences that I will never forget.

  8. hello its felix and saffie from severn. at the moment we are learning about cristian aid.hope you are well.

    • Hello Felix and Saffie. Thank you for your comment on my blog. I hope you are enjoying reading it. I guess you are learning about Christian Aid in RE. Are you raising money for it?

  9. Hi Mr Aldridge, we read your cool blog and wanted to say good luck

    From Grace and Spike

    • Thank you Spike and Grace. In my latest post You can read about my wonderful experience in a microlight over Victoria Falls.I wouldlike to bring in the photos to show you.

  10. Congratulation for your successful trip. You got great impressions. Good luck for your project in autumn.

    • Guten tag Karen & Simon
      Thank you for taking time to read my blog. It was a wonderful experience & in September I got to Rwanda for 3 months as an educational advisor.
      I hear the Comenius visit to England went well and hope you will all be successful in getting the new project.
      Best wishes

  11. hi Mr Aldridge,

    I just wanted to say that I am really sorry that I didn’t see you on Tuesday and I would like to know that when you said you would come and see us before the end of term ,that if you were going to come to our leavers play?

    • Hi Jess
      I am arranging with Mrs Waring and Mrs Staniland to come and show Y6 my Zambia powerpoint, probably next week, if not the week after.
      I can’t really just turn up to watch the Y6 Leavers’ Play so it will depend on whether I get an invitation!
      I hope to see you soon.

  12. Hi Mr Aldridge,

    Don’t worry if u can’t come to our leavers play because atleast i will get to see u again.

    from Jess

  13. It was great that you came back
    will you be coming to to the summer fair?


    • Hello Ewan

      It was really nice to come back to NP and catch up with everybody. Unfortunately I’ve got something else planned for Friday so can’t make it to the Summer Fair. I hope it goes well. I’m sure it will.

      Mr A

  14. Hi Mr Aldridge,

    I just wanted to say that it was really nice that u came back to see Y6 and i hope that u come back and visit but when u do we will probably not be there,


    • Hi Jess,
      It was really nice to see you all last week. I hope you enjoy your last two weeks at primary school and I wish you all the very best for the future.
      Take care and good luck.

      • After the play are you going back to Zambia?


      • Hello Ewan

        I will be in England until the end of the school holidays. I’m hoping to leave for my work in Rwanda on September 4th and will be there until just before Christmas.

  15. hi Mr Aldridge,

    I just wanted to say that today Y6 brought in some home made cakes and me and my friends sold them in the playground. We did this so that we could raise some money for the VOS. We raised around £71. I hope that it comes in handy and wish u luck for the future.
    It is coming to the end of the year and we are all excited about the leavers play. We will all be sad that we are leaving but are excited about our new future.

    • Hello Jess

      That is very kind of you and I really appreciate the money you have raised for VSO.

      Please thank everyone else who was involved.

      I had an email from Mr Humphrey today inviting me to the Y6 leavers’ play on Friday so I hope to be there. I’m sure it will be great.

      Many thanks once again.

  16. Hi Mr Aldridge,

    I am really glad that you decided to come and see us and show us all your pictures. Its two days until our last day so I really hope that you come and watch the leavers!
    I’m really looking forward to Secondary School but I’m really gonna miss the good times!

    Thank you!

    • Thank you Maddy, Mr Humphrey has invited me to come along on Friday so I will be there. I’m really looking forward to it I wish you all the very best at secondary school and and I hope you will always look back on your time at NP with affection.

  17. Hi, nice to meet you !

  18. Hi Mr Aldridge,

    I just wanted to say that I amreally enjoying my new school and everyone is really nice there. On our last day it was very emotional and I was glad that u were there to see our play.

    Jess Smiles

    • Hi Jess
      How nice to hear from you out here in Rwanda.
      I’m really pleased that you have settled into secondary school so quickly and that you are enjoying yourself – well done.
      I really enjoyed the Y6 leavers’ play. It was quite emotional for me too!
      Take care.

  19. hi mr Aldridge

    hope to see you again soon its wierd without you but mr Humphrey is kind and generous im glad we have mr Humphrey
    i wanted mr Humphrey to get chose but i wish we still had you as are head teacher .

    from kieran hall 😦

    • Hello Kieran It’s really nice to hear from you. I’m glad you like Mr Humphrey and hope things are going well at Naunton Park. I am very busy working in schools out here in Rwanda where the children don’t have very much compared with England. I finish in two weeks time and I’m looking forward to coming home for Christmas. I hope Larissa is doing well at secondary school. Remember me to her and to your teachers. Thank you for leaving the message. Good luck for the future. Phil Aldridge

  20. hi mr A
    when are you coming home. New frome is missing you a lot.
    It was really hard to start the new team with out you !!!!!!
    ABI HERBERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Hello Abi!
      How nice of you to email me. I’m missing you all at NP as well but I have been very busy out here in Rwanda where the schools need a lot of help. The children don’t have much but they seem very happy and want to learn. They have to do lessons in English which is very hard for them.
      Send my best wishes to everyone in Frome and have a lovely Christmas.
      Mr A

  21. are you going to the school whaen you come back

    • Lovely to hear from you again Kieran. I’m glad that you and Larissa are doing well. I won’t be coming into school this time but I will be thinking of you all. Have a nice Christmas. Mr A

  22. hi mr a

    the football have a great new player, his name is chisom , we were beaten by 1 goal in our last match i think you had a magic effect on us when you were here

    hope you have a great christmas

    from tom poole

    • It’s lovely to hear from you Tom.
      I hope you are enjoying being back at NP after your time in Paris.
      I’m glad the football team are continuing to do well.
      Enjoy your Christmas.
      Mr A

  23. Hi mr A did you have a nice Christmas?
    on the friday we brook up still had the candel lit coral servface

    • Hi Abi
      I have had a lovely Christmas with my family thank you. I hope you did too and that Father Christmas made a special delivery to your house on Christmas Eve!
      We had a lot of snow around over Christmas but it has all gone now.
      Take care and I wish you all the very best for 2011.
      Mr A

  24. Mr. Aldridge,

    Greetings from Texas! I stumbled on your blog when searching for the Rwandan school year (which incidentally I never found). As I read your “About Phil Aldridge!” section, I discovered you work in 2 countries that have captured my heart: Zambia (I spent time there in 2006 and 2007) and Rwanda (made my first trip with my husband in November 2010). I’m excited about the work you are doing both places, and would love to keep up with your blog.

    Take care,

    Mindy Dixon
    Austin, TX
    dixon1122.blogspot.com — our blog if you are interested in our involvement in Africa.

  25. Heey Mr.A
    Remember me? Evie Daley? I really miss naunton park, and I can’t believe you left, but now I see you did it for a really REALLY good reason.
    please reply
    evie 🙂

    • Hi Evie
      Of course I remember you and your sister, Zoe. I hope things are going well for you both. I left NP just over a year ago. I had been there over 10 years and a headteacher for 20 so I fancied a change! I decided to spend some time working with children and teachers in Africa, first in Zambia with the Bookbus charity and then in Rwanda with VSO. It was all very different from NP but enjoyable and extremely rewarding. I am going back to Africa again during April to visit some of my friends but this time I will be taking my wife and it will be a holiday.
      Thankyou for leaving a message and please pass on my best regards to your family.

  26. oooo, sounds good.. i don’t know how you remember everyone! We are doing good, and zoe’s doing gcse and d of e so she’s very busy! I just got lots of homework!!!

  27. hallo! i am origanally from Zambia, and am just wondering how you are going? Zambia is a beautiful but troubled country and it contains alot of amazing people, i hope you are doing well, and are looking after alot of young goopta’s , i hope one day i can join you on the outofafrica road, and return one day to Zambia

    • Hi! Thank you for your response. I’m now back in the UK but thoroughly enjoyed my Zambia experience. The Bookbus, based in Livingstone, is a wonderful resource and extremely well run. The schools were very welcoming and the children I worked with were delightful. I hope to return one day.

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