REAL LESSONS IN HISTORY; This Week, Education Reporter Ben Turner Visited Aintree Davenhill Primary School, Which Is Determined to Ensure Its Heritage Lives On

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), April 16, 2013 | Go to article overview

REAL LESSONS IN HISTORY; This Week, Education Reporter Ben Turner Visited Aintree Davenhill Primary School, Which Is Determined to Ensure Its Heritage Lives On


Byline: Ben Turner

Pictures: JAMES MALONEY WE ALL like to take a trip down Memory Lane - and for children at Aintree Davenhill Primary School it is a daily reality.

The school dates back to 1950, when 10 pupils were taught in basic structures affectionately nicknamed "The Aintree Cowsheds".

A year later, the first classrooms of its current base were erected and by 1952 it officially opened.

Such facts are all being logged by Kath Coyne, the school's former headteacher who now acts as strategic head for a cluster of schools known as Maghull and District Community of Schools.

She has been researching the school and will share her extensive findings with the community.

But, more than that, she has enlisted a team of willing nine to 11-year-olds from the school's news club.

They are helping with the research which will form a regularly updated archive on the school website and a resource for today's crop of children and parents and community at large - as well as future generations.

Big displays and lecterns will also be placed in and around the school, with its history brought to life via mediums as diverse as old photographs, log books and even minutes of governors' meetings from yesteryear.

Mrs Coyne's, and her willing recruits', detective work has also crucially involved getting firsthand accounts from past pupils and staff.

The concept is a simple one. The school has recently completed a PS2.4m major makeover with the ageing building brought up to modern-day expectations and standards.

But, from the outset, the school was determined its new beginnings would not be at the expense of its rich past and somehow erase the role it has played at the heart of the community for so long.

The desire was reflected in the fact that a long, windy corridor was replaced with a "Memory Lane" focal point, where pupils and visitors can share in the school's history.

All the children were given a brick as part of the feature and were able to write their personal message on it.

The area is used for lessons and was the scene for a big party when the school marked the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee last year.

The area is also set to get the Royal Seal of Approval when Her Royal Highness Sophie, Countess of Wessex, officially opens the new school on April 24. Mrs Coyne, whose research has already dispelled an urban myth that the school was originally built as a hospital, said it was clear the community had a deep pride in the school and it was important that its history should be archived and should play a part in its future.

And her quest has been helped not only by her young helpers but a grant of more than PS9,000 in Heritage Lottery Funding.

She said: "I have done a lot of research, but I will be doing a lot more and really opening it up to the community - we need the input of parents and grandparents. …

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REAL LESSONS IN HISTORY; This Week, Education Reporter Ben Turner Visited Aintree Davenhill Primary School, Which Is Determined to Ensure Its Heritage Lives On
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