Local Catholic primary school St Agnes’ Catholic Primary School, in Barnet, celebrated its 125th Anniversary last week.
The School was originally located at Child’s Hill when it was called the Good Shepherd. Over the years as its roll numbers increased it moved to premises in Gillingham Road in 1939 and in 1955 those premises were enlarged to accommodate all the pupils.
The current building, in Thorverton Road, was officially opened on in June 1992 by the late Cardinal Basil Hume, then the Primate of England and Wales.
Last week’s anniversary was celebrated with a mass by parish priest Fr John Buckley in St Agnes’ attended by school governors, staff, children and guests.
Head teacher Mrs Susan O’Reilly conveyed a special thank you to parish priest Fr John Buckley who stepped in at short notice as the original guest of honour,
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, had to cancel because of the funeral of his predecessor Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor in Westminster at which he was chief celebrant.
Mrs O’Reilly said it was difficult to find much of note in the historical record of the school from all those years ago but today it was a thriving place of education attended by generations of local families.
“A school building and playground are nothing without it’s beating heart – in this case the school community. We are immensely proud of the community here at St Agnes,” said the head teacher.
“Our pupils, who are well mannered and respectful, want to be in school to learn and find out new things, and are wanting to be challenged.
“Looking at nursery and Reception pupils on their first day is always an interesting time – often we see tears, hiding behind their parent’s backs and a reluctance to make eye contact with or speak to the new adults they are introduced to.
“These are the very same pupils who leave us in year six as articulate, knowledgeable and confident and of whom we are proud.
“The staff of St Agnes School are instrumental in its success. Teaching and working in a school in every capacity is a difficult job and it can be all consuming.
“However, thanks to the staff both past and present who were and are willing to go the extra mile, we can offer a standard of excellence for our children.
“The staff of St Agnes together are an incredibly strong team with talents in abundance as well as humour which is a winning combination,” she said.
Mrs O’Reilly singled out for particular tribute school governor Councillor Jack Cohen “who has sat on the governing body for over thirty years” and to Gill Abbott who has been a governor for sixteen years and chair of governors for the past eight years.