Marking a milestone

Fancy-dress birthday celebrations were held at Ellingham C of E First School.
Fancy-dress birthday celebrations were held at Ellingham C of E First School.
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Pupils at Ellingham C of E First School celebrated its 160th birthday last week, in its final days before becoming a primary school in September.

They marked the occasion by dressing up in costumes from each of the 16 decades spanned by the school’s history.

The school was founded in 1856 to ‘provide education for the poor children of the parish’ and initially catered for children up to the age of 14, which was the official school-leaving age at the time. The reality was many children began working long before that age, and school log books record poor attendance during hay-making and harvest.

The school has been a primary before, catering for children to the age of 11. When the new school year begins in September, Ellingham will once again take children up to 11, with the end of three-tier education in the area.

Headteacher Diane Lakey said: “Becoming a primary school is a big opportunity for Ellingham and opens a new chapter in our story. Here’s to the next 160 years.”

School cook Josie Scott baked a celebration cake which was shared by pupils, teachers, parents and members of the community, who came into school to hear the children sing songs from across the 16 decades, including Happy Birthday.