PUPILS, parents and staff of the last Chester inner-city school gathered at a thanksgiving service.
The service for Boughton St Paul’s Nursery and Infant School, held at St Paul’s church in Boughton, marked its closure after 178 years and celebrated its achievements over the decades.
The school is being closed as part of the Transforming Learning Communities (TLC) policy which is seeing a number of schools across Cheshire being closed or amalgamated.
The Rev Steve Pendlebury, who led the service, said: “It is fitting that we are celebrating the school where it started in the original church. This is an outstanding school and we are bowling out on a high.”
Among the attendees were former teachers of the school including Edna Lloyd, who taught there from 1941 to 1961, and had her memories of school life told by PTFA member Stephen Beveridge.
Lester Jones, a pupil at the old St Paul’s School in the 1930s, spoke of the differences between then and now such as the ink monitors and girls and boys being educated separately.
The service ended with the congregation singing Thank you Lord for St Paul’s School written by former pupils Sam, 10, and Cerys Walker, seven.
Acting headteacher Margot Marks said: “It has been a fantastic service and exceptionally well supported. It is touching to see what the school still means to so many people.”
Carl Menkin, whose grandchildren attended the school, spoke of his dismay at the school being closed: “The school meant a lot to us and we have some very good memories. I think the council have got it wrong to close this school. I just hope the land does not end up as flats, it should at the very least remain a place for children.”
Brenda Hughes, chairman of the PTFA, agreed saying: “It is terribly sad it has come to this, that an outstanding school has been closed. We feel we have been treated in a very unfair and unjust manner.”
She continued: “In other areas across Cheshire they have halted the TLC process as parents are upset because they feel their parental choice is being taken away from them, but what about the parental choice in Chester?
“They said they had to close schools because of falling birth rates but have since admitted they are going up. We just hope they see sense before other schools succumb to the same fate.”