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Special events to mark switch to new school 3 July 2008

SPECIAL events are planned to mark the closure of a town’s junior school after more than 100 years.

Pupils from Albert Road Junior School in Ramsey will transfer to the brand new Scoill Ree Gorree in Lezayre Road from September.

To mark the closure of the old school in the heart of the town, two special events will take place. The school’s final day on Tuesday 22 July will be marked a ceremony that will be the reverse of the opening of the then Ramsey Board School, carried out on Thursday 2 March 1905 by the Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man, Dr Straton. Albert Road pupils June 2008

Records show that the Lord Bishop ‘opened the school doors at 2.15pm and was followed through the school by Members of the Council of the Isle of Man, the members of the Ramsey School Board and many others to the large central hall in the Senior School’.

On 22 July, invited guests including Education Minister Anne Craine MHK will enjoy tea and cakes at Albert Road School before Headteacher Mike Faragher and Stuart Macadam, who is retiring at the end of term after a quarter of a century on the teaching staff, formally ‘lock’ the doors to the school, watched by assembled pupils who are breaking up for the summer holidays.

Before that on Monday 21 July there will be a party day for pupils and the school will stay open until 7.30pm for past pupils and staff and other members of the public to have a final look round, share memories and say farewell.

Mr Faragher said:

‘It would have been remiss of us not to bid Albert Road School an appropriate farewell and, by having an official closing ceremony that mirrors the original opening ceremony, we will be completing the circle.’

July 8 will see all the pupils and staff visit the new £7.5 million school together for the first time. Pupils from Auldyn Infants’ School, who will start at the junior school in September will join them in getting a first glimpse of the nearly completed Scoill Ree Gorree – which translates as King Orry’s School. New parents will visit in the evening.

Mr Faragher said:

‘Although there is still much work to be done kitting out Scoill Ree Gorree with furniture and equipment, it is pleasing to be able to show pupils around the inside of the building where they will be educated from September.’

Scoill Ree Gorree will be formally opened by Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK in November. The school is retaining its logo, a book overlaid with an etching of the famous Ramsey landmark the Albert Tower.

Pupils and staff recorded an hour-long programme about the school’s history, which was broadcast on Manx Radio in May. The Education Minister, whose children went to Albert Road School, was among the interviewees.

The Minister said:

‘The closure of Albert Road School will be an emotional occasion for all concerned. The school has been a touchstone for strong traditional educational values in the community for generations. Successive headteachers and staff have seen families grow up to return with their own children and this has created a sense of a safe and secure relationship between pupils, their parents and the school, which has been at the vanguard of caring education.
‘I share the personal experience of having children at the school and know the importance of growing up within the community where your friends are based. I am confident that, while the school building may have reached the end of its working life, the spirit of the school will continue through both children and staff at Scoill Ree Gorree and am pleased we can say in Ramsey, that alongside good teaching we now have the best educational facilities on the Island.’

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