100 happy years at Ipswich school

WALK down any street in Ipswich and you'll probably find a past pupil of Clifford Road Primary School. Today we mark the school's centenary with a four-page special by our reporter for the area, NAOMI CASSIDY.

WALK down any street in Ipswich and you'll probably find a past pupil of Clifford Road Primary School. Today we mark the school's centenary with a four-page special by our reporter for the area, NAOMI CASSIDY.

SINCE 1907, Clifford Road Primary School has been attended by thousands of children across Ipswich.

That was the year when Rudyard Kipling won the Nobel Prize for literature and Ben Hur was the nation's most popular film - a far cry from the likes of Big Brother and Justin Timberlake in today's society.

But as he prepared for this week's centenary celebrations, headteacher Richard Cove was pleased to report that some things remain constant.


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He said: “The school has always been the centre of the local community, and the area hasn't changed much. It's always been a mixed area. This area is like a mini world, with homes ranging from small rented properties to five-bedroom houses just across the railway tracks. I think that's an attraction, for your child to grow up with a mixture of people from different backgrounds.”

Mr Cove has been at the school for 22 years and it's only ever had a handful of headteachers with his predecessor Archie Lewellyn staying 21 years from 1964.

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Today many past pupils will be remembering the days when they entered the gates of the Ipswich school.

Betty Saunders, of Ashmere Grove, Ipswich, moved to the town when she was nine years old and started at Clifford Road Primary School before moving up to the Girls Central School after her 11-plus test.

Mrs Saunders, 86, said: “I remember school use to start at 9.30am until 4.30pm with a two hour break in the middle where we would all go home for dinner. We got an all-round education and I remember sometimes we use to take trips to the Fore Street swimming baths.”

Although the redbrick building looks the same as it ever used to from the outside, the school has changed considerably over the years. Here are just some of the differences:

THEN

Hopscotch and leap frog were played in the playground

The school used to be fronted by spiked iron railings and a portcullis, and walls divided the boys' and girls' playgrounds

There were around 50 to 60 children per class when it first opened, with boys at one end and girls down the other.

The school was built to accommodate 1100 pupils and every available space was used for classes.

Gone are the days of the old punishment books to show who's been caned

Physical education for pupils consisted of going out to the playground for 'drill.'

NOW

Classrooms host interactive white boards and a high tech computer suite.

In the playground children play football and gossip about the latest television programme.

The school's red brickwork and slender chimney stacks remain unchanged.

There are 400 pupils today

Offices take the place of some classrooms

Youngsters try a myriad of sports, with healthy eating and fitness high on the agenda.

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