Wood you believe it as school marks 100 years

Big celebrations after site survives fire disaster and army occupation.

Big celebrations after site survives fire disaster and army occupation.

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It’S been been the victim of a fire disaster and commandeered by the army, but despite a turbulent century Woodlands School has reached its 100th birthday.

Staff and pupils have been running a host of activities to mark the centenary of the building which is now known as Woodlands Primary School.

Fire drama: The temporary school was destroyed in 1912.

Fire drama: The temporary school was destroyed in 1912.

The site has been through a lot since it was first built in 1911, three years after a Woodlands temporary school was constructed nearby. The exact date it opened is not known.

Just a year after Woodlands School opened, the temporary school, which had been used by youngsters from Adwick and Highfields, was destroyed by fire - leaving its pupils having to use the new school’s hall for lessons in 1912.

Three years after the opening, the school was hit by more disruption. With the outbreak of World War One, the army took over the school building as part of the war effort, leaving its pupils to go to the nearby Parkside Chapel and two other nearby schools.

It was not until June 1918 that the school was given back by the army.

Branching out: Head John McEnaney with  the youngest and oldest pupils in the school, aged three and 11, and Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice fundraiser Sarah Gillies plant an apple tree.

Branching out: Head John McEnaney with the youngest and oldest pupils in the school, aged three and 11, and Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice fundraiser Sarah Gillies plant an apple tree.

Since then, life has been more straightforward. And a selection of MPs have visited over the years, ranging from then education minister Sir Edward Boyle in 1962, to Ed Miliband in 2007, who opened a link block joining two buildings.

Headteacher John McEnaney has been headteacher since 2003 and by October 2008 it was classed as outstanding by Ofsted.

All staff and children have been given a commemorative badge celebrating the centenary and a tree was planted in the school garden to commemorate the milestone. A plaque was unveiled in the reception foyer.

Mr McEnaney said the pupils had a wonderful time celebrating the centenary.

Concentrating hard: Beat the buzzer game proved popular.

Concentrating hard: Beat the buzzer game proved popular.

He added: “Many teachers from the 60s and 70s and 80s and 90s came to visit, and it was a pleasure to hear their memories of their time at Woodlands School.”

A centenary celebration charity night was held at The Regent Hotel in the town centre with 170 guests including current and ex-staff and governors, raising cash for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. All 455 children at the school were treated to pantomimes, with Beauty and the Beast for children up to key stage one and Jack and the Beanstalk for key stage two. Other celebration activities included a fun day complete with rock climbing walls and bouncy castles.

Pantomime treat:  Merlin Children's Theatre entertainers David Burns, left and Claudia Dawe with pupils.                                         Pictures Steve Taylor.

Pantomime treat: Merlin Children's Theatre entertainers David Burns, left and Claudia Dawe with pupils. Pictures Steve Taylor.