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Cambridge school celebrates its 50th anniversary in style

St Laurences Catholic Primary School in Cambridge has just celebrated its 50th anniversary. History Curriculum Lead and past pupil Rachel Chalklin reports.


Ten years after the consecration of St Laurences Church, the parish primary school finally opened on April 29, 1968 with 86 children and five members of staff under headteacher Ron Ellison (1968-1986), with the parish funding almost the entire A?110,000 cost.

The school began a week of Golden Jubilee celebrations on April 30 with children using the opportunity to develop their historical research skills, with each of the key stages focusing on an element of the schools history challenging and developing their understanding of what is important in a local history study.

Over the past 50 years our faith has bound us together, we teach the children about our Christian values, the children show wonderful examples of this in their RE learning but far more importantly they live their faith implicitly in all they do at school and other areas of their lives.

As part of our focus on the schools opening in 1968, the children reflected on what it might have been like 50 years ago.

On the Wednesday the whole school dressed in 1960s clothing with the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Thunderbirds and hippies in attendance.

Friday was a very special day at the school with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Alan, Fr Pat, Fr Bob, Dcn Geoff and Fr Padraig. We were joined by parents past and present, members of the parish and past members of staff from school including Mr Ellison and Miss Adams, the first deputy head teacher.

After Mass, Bishop Alan helped plant a commemorative tree with current headteacher Mrs Clark and the youngest and oldest current pupils at school. Included in the tree planting was a time capsule that the children in Reception and Years 1 and 2 had filled with newsletters, examples of their writing, local and national newspapers, till receipts and maths resources.

Bishop Alan and our other guests then visited the exhibition that the children had created illustrating the wealth of historical study that had gone on throughout the week across the school.

In the afternoon, the whole school enjoyed a party outside with food and drink supplied by parents, 1960s music and a birthday cake big enough for everyone to share. The cake was cut by Mrs Clark and Hyung Mo from Owls class who had played the piano so eloquently at Mass in the morning.

Some of the children in Years 1 and 2 thought about what they would like to be in 50 years time – scientists, zoo keepers, dancers, artists, rock stars, spacemen and teachers were some of the responses. If the next 50 years at St Laurence Primary are as good as the first what a wonderful place it will continue to be.

Pictured top is the planting of the commemorative tree by Bishop Alan with Mrs Clark, Anthony (Year 6) and Hania (Reception). Above is the official opening of the school in October 1968 by the Bishop of Northampton, pictured with Ron Ellison, the Mayor of Cambridge and pupils.

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