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Cheers and tears as Albert Road Junior School closes 22 July 2008

THERE were cheers and a few tears as Albert Road Junior School closed its doors to pupils on Tuesday – 103 years after it opened. Albert Rd 2

Ramsey’s seven to 11-year-olds will be educated at the new £7.5 million, purpose-built Scoill Ree Gorree in Lezayre Road from September.

With everything packed into boxes, the last day of term at Albert Road saw a closing ceremony. The yard was decorated with bunting and pupils, parents and past and present members of staff as well as film crews and reporters assembled in the famous Ramsey sunshine.

At the emotionally charged occasion, Minister for Education the Hon Mrs Anne Craine MHK said Albert Road School ‘had contributed to the community enormously’. She said it had been there ‘in times of pain and grief, joy and great celebration’ in the town.

Mrs Craine said:

‘We will find that we can build on this enormous success and that we will take the spirit, ethos and care that has been generated in Albert Road to Scoill Ree Gorree and we will have even greater achievements than those Albert Rd onegenerated here.’

She said:

‘It is not often that a Minister is asked to close a school but today is a day of celebration and recognition of all the many years’ good teaching that has gone on within the walls of this school.’

Headteacher for the last 17 years Mike Faragher said the school had ‘a firm place in the history of Ramsey’, as evidenced by the large number of people who attended an open evening on Monday to have a last look round and swap memories.

He said it was with ‘a mixture of sadness and excitement’ that staff and pupils were leaving the building to move to the new school, which will have capacity for 380 pupils.

‘Albert Road has had a succession of talented and highly dedicated staff in its 103 years. Each one has used those talents for the benefit of the pupils, the town of Ramsey and the Isle of Man,’ Mr Faragher said. Albert Rd 3

Vicar of Ramsey the Reverend David Greenwood conducted a blessing and chairman of the Governors Gill Kirk gave a vote of thanks, saying everyone was 'pleased and proud of the new school' and inviting parents along to see it after it opens.

As pupils filed out of the school ready for six weeks’ holidays, Mr Faragher called on teacher Stuart Macadam to lock the doors at Albert Road for the final time. Mr Macadam retires this week after 25 years at the school.

Mr Macadam – who started as a teacher of boys’ games and humanities in 1983 – admitted he felt emotional when the ‘school song’ was sung for the last time at that morning’s assembly – and again when his class, 4M, gave him an unexpected three cheers as they left their classroom for the final time.

He said his 25 years had gone ‘awfully quickly’ and the school now had on its register the children of pupils he taught. But he said the skill of teaching hadn’t changed a great deal – it was still all about building up relationships.

Asked to sum up what was special about Albert Road, he said: ‘It’s not perfect… but it is as close as you can get most of the time.’

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