80th birthday joy for Springfield Primary School, in Spondon, after fighting off closure threat
PUPILS at a Derby primary school are marking its 80th birthday in style.
Balloons were released at Springfield Primary School, in Spondon, yesterday to launch the celebrations and also to toast the creation of its new website.
It was originally opened on September 27, 1932, under the name of Springfield Junior Mixed Council School. It was built by Derbyshire Education Committee at a cost of £5,700, with the land costing an additional £1,345.
Yet, it looked unlikely that the school would reach its 60th birthday, never mind its 80th, when it was considered for closure because of falling roll numbers in the early 1980s.
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The opening speeches back in 1932 made mention of the countryside surrounding the school in West Road.
Current head teacher David Blackwell said the school was intending to carry on the tradition of having pleasant surroundings.
He said: "Next weekend we will be planting 60 trees to create a [Queen's Diamond] Jubilee wood for the school, as well as marking the 80th anniversary, adding to the countryside nature of the place. Our balloon launch is just the start of things and many more will take place in the spring term."
Celebration plans already drawn up include an attempt by pupils to contact 80 celebrities and encourage them to send the school a birthday card or message.
Mr Blackwell said: "It will be interesting to see what response we get to that. Everyone is excited about trying to get them to respond, but we still have to draw up a list of celebrities.
"Closer to home, we intend to hold a tea party for 80-year-olds. They don't have to be linked to the school and it would be great to think we could get 80 local people involved."
The school also intends to bury a time capsule and also to have a video booth where former pupils, parents and staff can record memories.
Mr Blackwell said: "One of the biggest events we want to hold is an open day for current and past pupils and staff.
"We have been looking in our loft and have discovered hundreds of old photographs which we will be able to display. We have also obtained old log books and information stored by the Derbyshire Records Office which help to paint a picture of life at Springfield in the past 80 years."
The school was built to take the increasing amount of children living in Derby's suburbs.
By 1956, when fire damaged part of the school, it had 270 pupils aged seven to 11 but by 1983, parents were rallying to prevent the school from closing after numbers dropped and it was felt that two junior schools in Spondon could not be sustained.
At that time, Springfield was the only school in the county without an infants section. A plan to share infant children between nearby St Werburgh's C of E Primary and Springfield saved the day and in 1984 it was decided to keep the school open.
To find out more about the celebrations or to join in call the school on 01332 673846 or visit its new website at the address www.springfield.derby.sch.uk.