IT was back to class last week, as we celebrated the opening of a new building for She Who Knows’ old primary school.
Heyhouses is a Church of England endowed school. Catholic ones rightly have a solid reputation, but I’ve never heard hymns sung with such fervour as in the service at St Annes Parish Church.
The Bishop of Burnley was entertaining too, recounting a curious night in Soho searching for two female colleagues lost from a group theatre trip. He recalled the shocked expression of a constable when asked by bishop and a fellow priest, “Excuse me officer, have you seen a couple of nuns about?”
It was enlightening, also, to compare the bright, cleverly designed school with the quaint Victorian one now reserved for infants. Large computerised screens replaced old blackboards; chairs were spaced sociably around table-desks; there were multi-purpose halls, playgrounds, a library and amenities full of interest.
Pupils had a garden area to cultivate and even a “sunflower room”, where they could discreetly discuss worries with a mentor.
Ah, I hear you ask, but do they behave themselves and learn their times tables? Well, yes, judging from the packed service, singing, readings and other presentations. Everything went like clockwork.
The Dean of Westminster, Chaplain to the Queen, dedicated the 587-pupil school, which dates back to 1745, with its inspiring code of “goodwill to all”.
“There used to be just fields round here – and horses,” said She Who Knows wistfully, as we later walked along a track she hadn’t used for almost a lifetime. “Back in the 40s,” recalled another ex-pupil, “a bomb dropped beside the school but didn’t go off – we were disappointed!”
Now, though, youngsters spoke of their eagerness to learn in a place full of opportunity and joy. We were left hoping they and their sentiments prosper.
* For Roy’s books, visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com.