The bell tolls for children and staff at West Norfolk school

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Sandringham and West Newton Primary School continued a special and age old tradition at the end of the summer term last week when the school bade an affectionate goodbye to three retiring members of staff and nine pupils who start secondary school next term.

The origins of the ceremony has been held annually for at least 25 years according to head teacher, Jane Gardener, though its origins appear lost in the mists of time.

Nearly 80 pupils formed a corridor in the school playground as those leaving passed between them, shaking hands and embracing special friends after the school bell has tolled, for each of them, the number of years they have been at the school.

For years five and six teacher Mrs Judi Jakes there were 17 peals, for years one and two teacher, Mrs Beth King, it was five and for retiring caretaker, Rob Willis six.

“It’s a special little school,” said Mrs Jakes and she watched her colleagues and pupils receive handshakes and pats on the back in front of a large crowd of parents and former pupils. “I’m retiring with lots of very happy memories.”

The pupils who will start at a new school next term are Jensen Gull, Eloise Woodhouse, Billy Underwood, Tally Underwood, Aymen Usman, Olivia Harrod, Noah Hayes, Tegan Collison and Nathan Taylor.

Each leaving pupil was presented with a school bible at assembly on the final morning of the summer term.

The leavers gather beneath the clock tower. Pictured centre, from left, is Beth King, Rob Willis and Judi Jakes. Picture: MLNF17PB07750