A roaring final day for pupils

ED FOSS Two Jaguars roared overhead, a band struck up a fitting tune and about 50 children marched proudly around their school grounds.While most children across the country were celebrating the last day of the school year yesterday, pupils at one Norfolk school were marking a far more significant final day.

ED FOSS

Two Jaguars roared overhead, a band struck up a fitting tune and about 50 children marched proudly around their school grounds.

While most children across the country were celebrating the last day of the school year yesterday, pupils at one Norfolk school were marking a far more significant final day.

The Douglas Bader School at RAF Coltishall closed its doors as a mainstream primary school for the last time.

A further victim of the impending closure of RAF Coltishall, the school will retain an educational role as a specialist unit for children with behaviour, attendance and other problems.

It is not the only educational victim of the base closure - yesterday also marked the last day for the Flying Start Nursery, which served the

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RAF married quarters at Horsham St Faith.

Yesterday's final knockings at the Douglas Bader School were the culmination of several days of events and many weeks of planning.

Mum Janet O'Neill, who has had four children at the school, said: "It is a very sad day - this has been an absolutely amazing school and my children have had a brilliant education.

"For instance, one of our children has special needs and they did their absolute utmost to help him.

"Although it is an emotional day, you have to move on, but we all wanted to come here today to say thank-you."

The flypast, music and marching was accompanied by an emotional response from the gathered crowd, with many parents and teachers shedding tears as the children gave a final three cheers, dressed in special commemorative T-shirts.

They were then allowed to leave the school grounds for the last time with their parents - and on to other schools in September.

Headteacher Lin Wakeford said the final few days had been designed to be a celebration.

"They are a wonderful group of children, and everyone, including parents, staff and governors, has worked really hard to make this final year one to remember for all the right reasons," she added.

Other activities included a fun

day on the base on Tuesday, a special assembly for children moving to high school on Wednesday and a visit from Lady Bader, Douglas Bader's widow, on Thursday.

Coltishall Airfield First School opened in 1972, changing its name to the Douglas Bader School when it took primary status in 2000.

Pupil numbers in the final weeks were around a quarter of its full capacity, due to the gradual slimming down of the base.