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Primary school puts on performance to celebrate 150th anniversary



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Children put on a musical to celebrate the 150th anniversary of their primary school this week.

After reading through entries in an old logbook, pupils at Wilby Primary School walked audiences through the history of the school, from the 1870s right through to the present day.

Dressed in full Victorian wear, they depicted some of the seminal moments in the school’s history – from the Spanish flu epidemic to the Second World War – during the performance on Wednesday.

Pupils performed to a packed house on Wednesday. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.
Pupils performed to a packed house on Wednesday. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.

“As it’s been 150 years, we wanted to get the children engaged in what it was like back in 1872,” said headteacher Roisin Wiseman.

“I had planned to write a play but, the more I looked at the logbook, the more I thought I didn’t need to as it was already pretty much done.”

The logbook, which is almost as old as the school itself, included entries from as far back as the Victorian times, noting how, for example, children being at work was resulting in a high number of pupil absences.

The performance told the story of Wilby Primary – from 1872 right through to the present day. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.
The performance told the story of Wilby Primary – from 1872 right through to the present day. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.

“It’s a wonderful piece of social history,” added Mrs Wiseman, who spent the Christmas period trawling through the book.

“We have always known it was there but we properly made time to look – and it was just fascinating.

“It doesn’t just tell the story of a Suffolk primary school – it tells the story of a whole nation.”

Pupils relished learning about the history of their school, too.

The school log book, which was used to help tell the story of the school. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.
The school log book, which was used to help tell the story of the school. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.

Year six student Barney said: “Our performance is brilliant. Lots of people don’t know about us because we are a small school but we are like a hidden treasure.”

Year four student Edward added: “We’re excited that, in the future, children might be learning about our lives, too.”

Pupils were joined by their parents and carers as they took on a variety of songs relating to the different periods in the school’s history over the 30-minute performance.

In attendance was Sheila Pipe and her mother Mary, who started at the school in 1976 and 1945, respectively. Sheila’s grandfather and great grandfather had also attended Wilby in the late 1800s.

The show is now set to go on the road next month when pupils will perform at Snape Maltings as a part of the Celebration of Schools’ Music 2022.



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