Brondesbury primary pupils dress up as Victorians to celebrate school’s 130th anniversary
- Credit: Jonathan Goldberg
Pupils in Brondesbury dressed up in Victorian clothes to mark their school’s 130th anniversary.
A huge celebration took place at Christchurch CE Primary School on November 29 with a church service, an animated history lesson and a lively winter fair to round it all off.
The day began with a worship service at the Clarence Road school led by Bishop Pete Broadbent of the Willesden Diocese and Mother Christine Cargill, vicar of St Anne's and Holy Trinity, in Salusbury Road.
Children gave thanks for their time at the school and presented memories of how it has changed their lives. A special anniversary candle was also presented, to be lit at special assemblies.
Headteacher James Kelly, said: "It was a fantastic day, we've had really positive feedback from the parents who thought it was a great way for the community to get together.
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"Having the children present their reflections during the worship service in the morning was pretty powerful.
"It showed what the children think of being in the school and how much they love being here.
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"The children looked amazing - just to see the joy in their faces at being able to come in dressed in the different clothes - they learnt a bit about what it was like to be a Victorian child.
"They really appreciated a different way to learn."
The Infant School was opened in 1889, followed by a Boys' School and Girls' School in 1893 which were separated by a locked door at the foot of the stairs.
Some 50 years later in 1938 the school became mixed and there have been some changes since then.
In 1894 there were 57 boys at the school growing to 115 within a decade and 82 girls.
Chair of governors Alison Schulte said only unmarried women were allowed to teach at the school.
Charles Wreford, first head teacher and a part time actor led the school for 40 years, retiring in 1932.
Throughout the day pupils learnt that their Victoria peers were excluded if their heads, hands or faces were dirty as infectious diseases including scarlet fever and diphtheria were common.
During World War 1 many families moved away as there was barely any fuel and the school could not be heated.
But even so even poor children gave money to charities to send gifts to the soldiers at the front and raised money to help the Dollis Hill Hospital where injured soldiers went to convalesce, said school staff.
Parents gathered together to take charge of the Christmas Fair in the school playground, with stalls run by parents and pupils of each year group. "The hot chocolate and marshmallows stall, face painting, and the tombola proved to be very popular attraction," said the school's chair of governor's Alison Schulte.
Mr Kelly, who will have led the school for two years in January, said: "We've a lovely bunch of kids here and a lovely bunch of parents aswell and the staff are amazing, there's a real community feeling here. In our school we talk about being a family because that's what you see when you walk around the school and there are the children talking to each other's parents and the parents talking to each other's children, there's a real community feel to the place."
His hopes for the next one hundred years is to grow the school. "As a headteacher it kind of grates on me when I come out of school and I see children walking past us to go to other schools, so that's our main thing, for people to see just how amazing it is an Christchurch, let's go to the school next door rather than the school up the road
I hope that people in the area begin to realise what goodness there is in this school and we end up having a full role, we're still struggling for parents and we're still struggling for children.
"We compete with other schools in the area because we're in quite a small catchment area here with a couple of other schools close by us.
He added: "We have been supported by people who do come past and drop in and usual they come and meet myself and the deputy and we show them around the schoo. Anybody who comes to visit the school generally signs up and joins us.
" It's the best way to do it, to visit a place."
Ms Schulte said: "In 2019 Christchurch continues to thrive as a happy and successful community, a small and welcoming place of learning with a strong ethos based on Christian values that are also key values in our society. Respect for others, whatever their background or circumstances and caring for one another are instilled in the children and permeate their attitudes and behaviour.
"The intake is diverse, made up of children of many faiths or none. Last year the school received a resoundingly good judgment from Ofsted and academic achievement and progress continues to rise year on year."