Village in uproar as primary school attempts to change historic logo

Aimee on her first day of school in 2015 (left) and today, in Year 5 at Old Newton Church of England Primary School.

Aimee on her first day of school in 2015 (left) and today, in Year 5 at Old Newton Church of England Primary School. - Credit: Laura Barton

People living in a mid Suffolk village say they are "frustrated and upset" as a primary school attempts to change its historic logo, proposing to replace it with a "DreamWorks rip off".

A petition has been launched by parents of children at Old Newton Church of England Primary School, just north of Stowmarket, after they received the news from the headteacher last Friday. 

In an email update sent to parents, headteacher Jo Lockyear said the governing body has "approved a change to the school emblem".

She said they hoped the logo would be in place for the autumn term, but reassured parents there will be no expectation for anyone to change their uniform — instead phasing it out gradually. 

Old Newton Church of England Primary School.

Old Newton Church of England Primary School. - Credit: Google Maps

Laura Barton, whose daughter Aimee is in Year 5, launched the petition to keep the current logo as she said it represents the village's history and depicts the battle of Stonebridge which was held a few hundred yards away.

She said: "They haven't consulted anybody whether the village, the parents or the children even want to change the logo. The logo is the village sign, so it's important to the village as a whole.

"It's historic and there's a reason we have that logo and we have had it for years, so why change it?"

Mrs Barton said the new logo doesn't represent the school at all, or the village, describing it as "blank and universal".

Aimee on her first day at the school in September 2015. She is now in Year 5.

Aimee on her first day at the school in September 2015. She is now in Year 5. - Credit: Laura Barton

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Alistair Ewan, a former governor at the school who has lived in Old Newton for 20 years, said parents and villagers are "upset" by the proposal. 

He said the school is at "the heart of the village" and its logo should show deep attachment to its history.

Instead, he described the draft of the new logo as a "rip off of either DreamWorks or Kindle" and asked "where is the relevance?".

"It's certainly exclusive of girls and if nothing else it is open to ridicule," he said.

"The school has a long history, it goes back to 1859. The logo has been there for generations and people are sensitive about it because it was proudly worn on their uniform when they were at school."

Andrew Berry, chief executive of The Tilian Partnership, which runs Old Newton Church of England Primary School, said the school's governors want to bring a logo which is "more representative of the school".

Aimee is in Year 5 at Old Newton, her mum is petitioning against the logo change.

Aimee is in Year 5 at Old Newton, her mum is petitioning against the logo change. - Credit: Laura Barton

He said: "The governors want to have the Church of England name on the logo and want it to represent what the school is about."

The current logo is split into four quadrants, two of which are blacked out, one with a Suffolk punch horse and another which depicts the battle of Stone Bridge. 

The new proposed logo shows a child sitting under an acorn tree reading a book, with the name of the school underneath.

Mr Berry said it is not about going against the village sign, adding that "heritage always matters".

"The community is incredibly important to us, as a village school only exists because of its community," he said.

"The governors have since asked parents to send any comments to them and have now gone through these. Some raise important points about costs during Covid and it not being the best time. 

"It is important to get people's views in the community, and these will be heard, but the logo is the decision of the governors."

The governors are set to send further information to parents next week, addressing their reasons for changing the logo. 

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