Fun on campus as schools mark the end of an era

Myers Grove School last Day 'Grease' themed fancy dress Fun Fair...Pictured are staff and pupils dressed as 'Pink Ladies'
Myers Grove School last Day 'Grease' themed fancy dress Fun Fair...Pictured are staff and pupils dressed as 'Pink Ladies'

MYERS Grove had never seen anything like it: lessons were abandoned as students and staff swapped classroom for playground in an end-of-term celebration.

And the school will never see anything like it again, for the Grease-themed funfair marked the closure of the Stannington secondary, which merges with Wisewood in September.

There was a mixture of nostalgia and celebration in the air as both schools staged special events before pupils left for the last time on Wednesday.

Staff then had two days to pack up books and equipment ready for transfer to the new Forge Valley School, on the Myers site, off Wood Lane, at the start of next term.

“There are mixed emotions,” admitted Jean Cresswell, who is retiring after 36 years as PA to the head of Myers Grove.

“We had a nostalgic social evening and the school was open over the weekend; we were overwhelmed by the number of past staff and pupils who came through the doors. It was very emotional.

“But there’s also excitement about the new school and everyone has enjoyed the last day of term,” she added.

The school car park was taken over by a helter skelter, dodgems and traditional fairground stalls.

And instead of school dinners there were hotdogs and candyfloss, with staff and students alike entering into the spirit of the occasion by dressing as characters from the film Grease.

The school has also produced a book, Past and Present, looking back over 50 years of Myers Grove, which was one of the country’s first comprehensives when it opened in 1960.

Meanwhile, at Wisewood, students took part in an old-fashioned sports day, a treasure hunt and parties – with a bouncy castle, sumo wrestling and face painting.

Joint head of school Beryl Harlow, who will be an assistant head at Forge Valley, said it had been a good way to mark the change.

“We’re sad to be leaving Wisewood, but there’s a sense of excitement about the future,” she said.

“Our kids need a new school and if this is the only way it can be achieved, then it’s a good thing.”

Students – who each received a pewter medal, which they had helped to design – had already taken part in a final farewell community fun day, marking the end of 78 years of schooling on the Rural Lane campus.

However, the sports hall, built in 2004, will remain open for the use of local people.

After the controversy over the closure of Wisewood, Forge Valley is nearing completion and due to be handed over by contractors on August 31. Staff will then have just days to prepare for the phased arrival of students from September 6.

This week also marked the end of an era for Abbeydale Grange School, although it officially closed last year. Since then, the site has been occupied by just 89 Y11 students who took their GCSE exams this summer. All teachers were responsible for teaching at least one subject in addition to their specialism.

Meanwhile the city council is planning community consultations over the future of the site once the school is demolished.