SHE started it nearly 40 years ago with just six students, in a cottage on land near the Sheiling School in Ringwood.

Today Ringwood Waldorf School has some 270 pupils and a modern purpose-built campus thanks to founder Christine Polyblank and husband Keir.

The well-known local couple is now retiring from the Steiner school, but admit they will find it hard to step back.

“I will miss being with the children,” said Christine, “and having an active role in this great little school which has come about entirely through the inspired and devoted efforts of exceptional people – teachers and parents.”

Christine taught at the school for many years before taking on the roles of fundraiser for the new buildings, mentor to new teachers, and PR.

Keir, never officially employed by the school, took early retirement to take responsibility for almost all aspects of the new build; the design, planning permission, building the four kindergartens in phases, 12 classrooms, an art studio, science lab and multi-purpose hall.

“At last Keir will have time to devote to improvements in our own house,” Christine said, “and we mean to take up new activities, travel and tend our garden – and our 14 grandchildren.”

The school this term is also welcoming a new administrator Nigel Revill, who replaces Maggie Coello.