Hundreds of students, parents and former teachers help celebrate 120th anniversary of Banbury primary school

Former student turned rapper Jack Bushrod performed during anniversary celebrations

Friday, 8th April 2022, 3:44 pm
Updated Friday, 8th April 2022, 3:59 pm
Dashwood Primary year 3 pupil Daniyal Ramaj in Victorian fancy (photo from Dashwood Academy)

Hundreds of students, past and present, and parents gathered alongside former teachers and principals to celebrate the 120th anniversary of a Banbury primary school.

The hard work of current pupils and teachers saw Dashwood Academy School transformed into a ‘mini museum.’

A number of classrooms were filled with Dashwood’s impressive history from its original site on Dashwood Road when it opened in 1902 to its present site on Merton Street.

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Year 6 pupils - Head and deputy head pupils doing their speeches - Alfie Davies, Keya Mistry, Kit Camilleri, Anokhee Kini (photo from Dashwood Academy)

Displays included photographs retrieved from the archives including portraits of early school principals in the twenties and thirties. There were also school roll books from the 40s and 50s and attendance registers and school trip logs from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

In the lead up to the big day, current students were asked to create different types of artwork that best reflected what they love about being part of Dashwood.

Every student at the school also contributed to the creation of a giant papier-mache tree sculpture, created by local artist Emily Cooling.

Principal Amy Rogers said: ‘’The sculpture reflects Dashwood’s logo which is a tree and also the school’s mission statement: Growing together; succeeding together. The tree symbolises how we as a school provide the roots for pupils and staff to grow.

Fred Riches, who was principal at Dashwood in the 1980s, with several people who attended the 120th anniversary.

"The anniversary celebration was a success and brought the community and the school together. There were six different time slots available to take a tour through the school and each one had 60 to 90 people attend.

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"I was elated with how well it all went and would like to say a huge thank you to all the members of the working party, staff and students who helped to make it a success. There were lots of hours spent after school trawling through the archives to uncover many of the photographs and registers on display.

"It was lovely to see so many faces of former students light up when they saw their names on display as they reminisced about their time at Dashwood. We had people who went to the school in the 1930s and 40s attend and so many of the parents with students at the school today said how nice it was to take part.

"The anniversary project has really helped our students appreciate their local history and appreciate what it means. This has increased their excitement at being a pupil at Dashwood.’’

Fred Riches, who was principal at Dashwood primary school in the 1980s, attended the celebrations.

Celebrations also included a presentation by Mrs Rogers, the school’s choir, dancers and a talented pianist. Former student turned rapper Jack Bushrod also attended to perform one of his latest songs.

The 120th celebration came to a close with the planting of a crab apple tree.

For more information on Dashwood Academy Banbury see its website here: https://www.dashwood-aspirations.org/