The sun shone, flags were waved and pupils cheered as Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall arrived this morning, January 30, at Marlborough St Mary’s CEVC Primary School to officially open the new school.
Unveiling a plaque, she said, “What a real pleasure it is to visit the school. I know it’s taken a long time to come to fruition but it’s been worth it. This is a very happy school, with happy pupils and teachers… Thank you for having me here today.”
The Duchess was introduced to Headteacher, Anne Schwodler as well as staff, governors and supporters of the school. She was given a tour of the new school, visiting the complex needs and sensory room, the technology suite and several classrooms where she spoke to individual pupils.
She told pupils, “It’s a lovely place, Marlborough, you’re really lucky to live here.”
Pupils, Corey, Rosie and Amy, the school reporters covering the event, were also able to speak to the Duchess. Glancing round at the press contingent she told them, “You’re going to show the others how it’s really done. I will look forward to seeing what you’ve done at the end of the day.”
As an avid reader and Patron of the National Literacy Trust, the Duchess was keen to visit Year 3 who were working to improve their writing skills with Mrs Lucy Pash and Year 6 who were improving their reading and comprehension skills with Mrs Swankie. “All my grandchildren love Harry Potter,” she told pupils.
In the £9,840 lottery funded technology suite the Duchess was introduced to the pupils who run the school radio station. The pupils explained how this project helps develop their speaking and listening skills and how they had assisted Graham Seaman from BBC Wiltshire with his lunchtime show which was broadcast from there in December. The Duchess said, “I think this is really good – it helps your confidence. An excellent idea.”
Listen here to the recording of the Duchess’ visit to the station – click here
The Duchess and visitors were entertained by Robin Class, pupils aged four and five, performing a poem entitled, “If I was a Superhero” and the school choir sang two songs. The first of these, a welcome song showed how the school embraces an international perspective. It was entitled “Hakuna Matata” and was sung in Swahili followed by an English translation, “Hello, hello to you ma’am, you are welcome in our new school, we have no worries, so how are you? Very fine.”
The Duchess was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Svea, a pupil who had raised £160 for the new school with her own bake sale.
The formal opening ceremony ended with the Bishop of Ramsbury, Bishop Ed, giving thanks for and blessing the new school. All present then joined in with the school prayer. Finally the choir sang “The sound of hope, the sound of peace, this is why we sing, why we stand as one in harmony,” as the visitors left.
To more waves and cheers, the Duchess was driven away, leaving behind very excited pupils. Anne Schwodler, Headteacher said, “It all went very well. The choir were amazing and the children loved it.”
Marlborough St Mary’s CEVC Primary School is well and truly open!
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