WITH a new uniform, a new badge and a new name, these children are celebrating a new era.
The Bishop of Portsmouth yesterday officially opened the St Columba Church of England Academy in Fareham.
The school, formally known as Oak Meadow C of E Primary School, is now a Church of England academy.
It is only the second Church of England Academy in the diocese.
The move releases extra funding for the school, as well as extra resources provided by the Dioceses of Portsmouth and Winchester as its sponsors.
A special assembly was led by the Bishop, The Rt Rev Christopher Foster, and saw the children sing a song of blessing. They also spoke of their hopes and prayers for the school.
Bishop Christopher said: ‘This is an important day for the academy, for one of the schools in our church school family. That family of schools is an important part of the diocese of Portsmouth.
‘For the bishop as the head of the diocese it’s important that I’m here to celebrate this milestone in the life of this school.
‘Not only to celebrate the opening of a new institution but to pray with the whole school community for all the challenges and opportunities ahead.
‘It’s a great new beginning in a number of ways. It’s a further stage and development of this school which has gone from strength to strength over recent years.’
He added: ‘As we can sense both by looking at the buildings and from the excitement of the children and the staff, they are committed to doing the best for the children and families in this part of Fareham.’
Jane Hoggarth, principal, added: ‘It will benefit the school immensely.
‘We are looking to improve the results that the school is judged by but we are also keen to build happier, well rounded individuals who are ready for the next stage of education.
‘The motto is “changing children’s lives for the future”.’