The Bishop of Basingstoke visited Amport C of E Primary School this week to celebrate the school’s 200th Anniversary.
To mark the anniversary, pupils from the school led a celebratory service at the Parish Church of St Mary’s, Amport, which was attended by the Bishop, current and former Headteachers, staff and pupils, as well as local dignitaries including the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Carl Borg-Neal. Speaking at the service, the Bishop made reference to the positive impact the school has had on the area for so many generations of children and their families.
During the service current pupils read extracts from the diaries and logbooks of the Headteachers who have been at the school over the last 200 years. These include attendance records, with an entry for June 1917 reading: “Four new children admitted. All excluded children returned. 113 present. Three boys away haymaking.” Another entry, dated 20 December 1901, reads: “About a dozen of the elder boys were absent every day this week at a shooting party.”
The Right Reverend David Williams, the Bishop of Basingstoke said: “It is an honour to be here on this special day. I want to congratulate the school’s staff for creating a community within which everyone is valued and encouraged to flourish. Amport is a wonderful school with a commitment to values-led education based on its distinctive Christian ethos. The school has been a blessing to the local community over the last 200 years and I know it will continue to contribute to the common good for many years to come.”
Mrs Bernadette Fleet, the school’s Headteacher said: “We are grateful to Bishop David for joining us today to celebrate this milestone. Amport has developed and grown since its foundation 200 years ago, but our commitment to our founding values of trust, truth, forgiveness and love, remains unchanged.”
The school was built and endowed 200 years ago with money left by Thomas Sheppard in 1815 for his wife, Sophia. A local philanthropist with a passion for education, Sophia was a member of the Routh family who are still associated with the village to this day. When it was first founded the school had only one classroom and one teacher, it has grown since then and now accommodates 90 children in 4 classes.