Children turn back the clock to mark 40 years of Hayling school

Headteacher Howard Payne with (left) Lenny Horrell, 10, Ryan Hooper, seven, and the signed ball.   Picture: Sarah Standing (170829-4028)

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IT WAS 40 years ago that the doors of Mill Rythe Infant School opened to its first pupils.

Now the Hayling Island school has celebrated its birthday by going back to the 1970s.

From left, Oliver Gates, six, Cameron Duffy, five, Hollie Phillips, six, Annie Fifield, five, Dakota-Blue Manley, five, and Finley Hill, four. Picture: Malcolm Wells (143129-6037)

From left, Oliver Gates, six, Cameron Duffy, five, Hollie Phillips, six, Annie Fifield, five, Dakota-Blue Manley, five, and Finley Hill, four. Picture: Malcolm Wells (143129-6037)

Children danced to music from the era including Abba and Saturday Night Fever and wrote letters to put in a time capsule.

Yesterday they arrived in school dressed in 1970s clothes.

Pupil Billy Kilshaw, six, is in Year 2. He said: ‘I’m surprised the school has stayed here for all these years.

‘We’ve been doing a dance from the 1970s. It was fun. We wrote about the 70s too. It’s been brilliant.’

Ruby Cox, six, is also in Year 2. She added: ‘It’s exciting that the school is 40 years old.

‘I like my school because we learn stuff. It’s been fun.’

Alec Jackson, 26, lives in Southsea. He’s a former pupil who came back to the school to join in the celebrations.

‘I wanted to have a look around,’ he said. ‘My mum works here as well so we always hear her talking about it.

‘It’s something for the kids to look forward to. It’s such a little community so a lot of the parents came here as well.’

Charlotte Tighe is the assistant headteacher at the school.

She said: ‘We had disco dancing so the children were learning all about that. We’ve been having a look at time capsules.

‘We’ve been having a look at the history of the island as well. We have such a close-knit community on Hayling. A lot of our parents went here as children.

‘It’s important, particularly because a lot of people don’t move off the island, that the children understand the heritage and the strong community links that we have here at Mill Rythe Infants.’

She added: ‘They really have had a great time and really enjoyed the learning that has been focused around it.’

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