Saturday, 23 September 2017

Children go back in time to mark school centenary

PUPILS went back in time as Sonning Common Primary School celebrated its centenary.

PUPILS went back in time as Sonning Common Primary School celebrated its centenary.

Children, staff, governors and parents spent two days wearing traditional clothes from 100 years ago when George V was on the throne.

The pupils were taught about the era during lessons where computers were not allowed and the interactive whiteboards were turned black on screen to reflect the old chalk boards.

During breaks, the children took part in popular games such as hula hoops and skipping.

Headteacher Chris Hirst said: “Almost all the pupils and staff took part and to see so many children come in all dressed up on the first day was great.

“The whole school went back in time. Displays were covered up and the children were given lessons as they would have been back then. They learnt by rote, through reading and copying the Bible and by chanting multiplication tables.

“The same level of manners was also expected. When I entered the classroom, the children stood up and bowed their heads before saying, ‘good morning’.

“We have some children who are the third generation in their families to attend the school so it’s good for them to learn.”

When the school opened on January 6, 1913, it was known as Eye and Dunsden Sonning Common Primary School and had 67 pupils compared with 400 now. At one stage in the Seventies, the number totalled about 700. In the Sixties, the school was extended to include a library and key stage two buildings and in 2002 Bishopswood Special School opened on the same site in Grove Road.

Mr Hirst, who joined the school four years ago, said: “It has always been a large village primary. It’s a fantastic school.”

Teachers circulated photographs of pupils from 1915, the earliest examples they could find.

Mr Hirst said: “The staff made a big effort in terms of finding out information from that period to teach.”

The centenary celebrations will continue throughout the year.

An aerial picture has been taken of all the pupils standing on the school playing field in the shape of ‘100’.

Former pupil Alice Jones has designed a logo that will be used on posters and school letters and a group of mothers has planted bulbs that will blossom into a ‘100’ display in the spring. All the pupils are contributing to a mosaic that will be exhibited outside the school office.

Former deputy headteacher Mel White has compiled a book illustrating the history of the school.

It recalls how evacuees from two schools in Ealing were sent to Sonning Common during the Second World War and Mrs White discovered a log book of punishments. The book is available from the school.

In June, open evenings will be held for anyone with connections to the school and there will be a summer fair linked to the centenary on June 29.

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