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From empty corridors to a thriving school - primary marks 10th birthday

PUBLISHED: 17:09 07 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:09 07 September 2018

Queen's Hills Primary School 10th anniversary.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Queen's Hills Primary School 10th anniversary. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Ten years ago a primary school opened with just 29 pupils. Now, with over 700 and two extensions, they have a lot to celebrate.

A decade after it opened its doors on September 8, 2008, with just 29 pupils, Queen’s Hill Primary School, in Costessey, celebrated the milestone with a birthday bonanza.

Headteacher Penny Sheppard said: “We had a climbing wall, story telling, Aspiration Alley Mural being painted by Mik Richardson, a birthday assembly, a band and a staff versus parents rounder’s match. Also the staff had a little number they performed in the assembly.”

The school today is a stark contrast to that of 10 years ago.

“When I think back to those times,” Ms Sheppard said, “when I took the job, there wasn’t even a school, just sand. We had 29 children and feared the local authority was going to shut us down before we even started and to think we have grown exponentially is fantastic. There is an amazing team feel here.”

Queen's Hills Primary School 10th anniversary. Parent and cake maker Cate Burton surprises headteacher Penny Sheppard with a birthday cake. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYQueen's Hills Primary School 10th anniversary. Parent and cake maker Cate Burton surprises headteacher Penny Sheppard with a birthday cake. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

It hasn’t been an easy feat to get prepared for the birthday, with the school only being back one day after the summer break.

The children created stained glass for the windows, the younger years made birthday cards and wrote poems and the older years penned letters to themselves in 10 years time.

“Today is a definitely a celebration of Queens Hill and its community,” Ms Sheppard said.

Pupil Logan Chapman said: “My favourite things at Queens Hill are maths and learning. Today it has been the rock climbing.”

Queen's Hills Primary School 10th anniversary. Headteacher Penny Sheppard celebrating with pupils.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYQueen's Hills Primary School 10th anniversary. Headteacher Penny Sheppard celebrating with pupils. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Alisha Blundell said: “I like the dancing, singing and the normal learning. Today Molly [the school dog] was dressed in a tutu.”

The school has gone from strength to strength in the last decade, but its headteacher feels it is only the beginning.

Ms Sheppard said: “We’re at the stage where we’re supporting other schools. We have an amazing team that trains other teachers, and the best practice we have here is something we want to develop.

“We grow leaders. Some of the staff joined us as newly qualified teachers and have now gone onto leadership roles. We are about passion for learning whether it’s children or adults. That’s what we are wanting to do here and to give our children the very best opportunities.”

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