St Paul’s School, Swanley Village - 150 Years

Victorian2012 will be known as the year of the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and Paralympics and it has been a special year too for St Paul’s CEP School, Swanley Village. This year the school, which is linked to St Paul’s Church in the village, celebrates its 150th anniversary. The anniversary itself was in October but celebration events have taken place throughout the year. Earlier in the year, there was a service at the church which was attended by Bishop Brian, the children, staff and members of the school community. Bishop Brian spoke about change, legacy and the unchanging nature of Jesus.
In June, the children, staff and many parents donned Victorian costumes. The school day started when the newly restored school bell was rung. After that, the children experienced the joys and rigors of a Victorian school day, which included learning copperplate handwriting, reciting by rote and times tables. They also discovered how Victorian children were punished by being caned. (No children were harmed during the demonstration!)
The children had a celebration lunch on the playground, provided and served by parents and staff. After lunch the children played traditional Victorian games, such as bowling hoops, marbles and skipping and learned skills such as polishing shoes and identified Victorian household artefacts like a carpet beater and a flat iron.
There was a display of archive materials and photographs from the school’s history. Present and past pupils and friends enjoyed spotting familiar faces and learning about life in the school years ago. Following recent building development and success in academic and sporting achievement, the school is looking forward to the next 150 years and beyond.
Article: Penny Culliford
Pictures: Donna Holpin

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