Calling all Model girls

A pioneering school which paved the way for girls to get a decent education is having a grand union in Norwich.

It was almost a quarter of a century ago when Cynthia Miller came to see me with a request for help.

She had been a pupil at a famous old Norwich school and the idea was to reach out to fellow pupils for a reunion.

Girls from the dear old Model School were now scattered far and wide but Cynthia and her friends, with a little help from the Evening News, tracked them down for a get-together.

One reunion became two, then three, then four... classroom friends were reunited, memories rekindled and friendships forged again.


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Later this month will see the 25th reunion for the Model School girls and the current organiser, now Jean Waters, is once again inviting those ex-pupils who don't know about it already to come along.

The school name disappeared after it merged with the Bluebell School in the mid 1950s but the Model memories live on.

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It is a school with an extraordinary history.

The Model School for Girls first opened in Norwich way back in 1708 at a time when education was not compulsory, and especially not for girls.

It was established, along with eight other city charity schools, illustrating how Norwich was helping to lead the way when it came to educating its young people at a time when many couldn't read or write.

By 1843 there were about 400 girls attending the pioneering school in St Andrew's – parents had to pay for some of the school fees and this was topped up by donations from charity groups in the city.

The school continued to operate in the city centre, producing girls who were able to get good jobs, before it moved out of the centre to premises in Dereham Road.

The bishop of Norwich held a dedication service in 1929 and it opened as the Girls' Model Senior School with more than 300 pupils. It closed in the 1950s.

The reunion is taking place on Friday April 20. For more information and ticket details call Jean Waters on 01508 492193.

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