Officials have begun a new era at a West Norfolk village school by looking back at the area’s role in one of the bloodiest periods of English history.
Southery Primary formally opened as an academy for the first time yesterday morning, under the sponsorship of the CWA Academy Trust.
And principal Julian Goodrum said the move was the start of an exciting new chapter for the school, which now becomes the sixth school, and the third primary, to join the organisation.
He said: “The trust has already been offering valuable support and we look forward to working with the other academies in the trust.
“Our ambition is to provide the village of Southery with the outstanding academy it deserves.”
The transfer to academy status includes both a new uniform for pupils and a new badge reflecting the story of how a village publican, Mucky Porter, is said to have guided King Charles I across the Fens in 1646, at the height of the English Civil War.
The badge depicts a split grey goose feather which the publican is said to have cut in half, putting one half in his pocket and giving the other to the King, in order to prove he was a true fenlander and could be trusted to help him to evade enemy forces as he crossed the Fens towards Huntingdon.
According to the story, the pair were allowed to pass through even when they met enemy troops because they showed the split feather.
A similar token is also said to have been placed before Oliver Cromwell on the King’s behalf the night before he was executed in January 1649 with a message asking that the monarch was afforded what was due to someone holding a split feather.
However, Cromwell did not intervene to stop the execution.
Southery’s school has joined the King’s Lynn Academy, King Edward VII Academy, Downham Market Academy, plus the Eastgate and Nelson primary academies in Lynn and Downham respectively as CWA-sponsored schools.
Trust chief executive and College of West Anglia principal David Pomfret, who was at the school for the launch event, said: “This is an exciting time, especially for this small community who show such passion for their local school.
“We look forward to raising the aspirations of the Southery pupils, as we have with our other two primary academies.
“Southery is the first academy to join the CWA Academy Trust that hadn’t previously been in special measures and our aim to raise all of our academies to either good or outstanding.”