It takes a lot of pencils and chalk to get to a 50th anniversary but St. Augustine of Canterbury primary school in Downend has done it in style. St Augustine’s opened in September 1970 in Downend and this year marks its 50th anniversary.

Teachers, excited pupils, past pupils and teachers and parents of the school celebrated this wonderful achievement last month with their bishop, the Right Reverend Declan Lang, Monseigneur Bernard Massey, and their parish priest Canon Frank Bermingham, who concelebrated a special school Mass in the parish church, where the children’s’ singing rose loudly and cheerfully once again, after so many months in lockdown.

‘ You could see how proud the children were to be attending a school that had such a long history behind it.’ commented Caroline McConnell, whose two children attend the school. ’I sat listening to all the children sing with gusto and joy and it made all the difficulty and loneliness of the past two Covid laden years disappear.’

After the Head Teacher, Mark Hilliam, and the Chair of Governors Jenefer Morgan had thanked everyone for the contribution they had made to the school’s growth, the Bishop planted a tree in the grounds to commemorate the hard work and dedication that had gone into those 50 years. The children buried a time capsule as well.

But the celebrations didn’t stop there. As local schools re-open for the autumn term, St. Augustine’s was one of the first schools to be inspected by OFSTED. The school, parents and children were delighted that it successfully maintained its status as a Good school. Inspectors felt that school leaders and staff ‘ inspire pupils to achieve their best through a demanding, rich curriculum’ and that the school was warm, friendly and inviting. They found that pupils were happy there and were well-mannered and proud of their school.

A parent with two children at the school, Fabiola Doano, added ‘we have been part of this wonderful school for 11 years and we feel really blessed to experience the close and supportive environment where respect for one another, love for God and desire to learn are central’.

Yvonne Morgan