Norfolk’s smallest primary school closes its doors for the last time

Brockdish School closes this week after pupil numbers have fallen over the last few years. Staff mem

Brockdish School closes this week after pupil numbers have fallen over the last few years. Staff members with the pupils are (left to right) governor Jan Croxson, teacher Nikki Dean, secretary Jill Edwards and teaching assistant Mary Mills. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

As the school term ends most youngsters will be looking forward to spending their free days with friends.

Brockdish School closes this week after pupil numbers have fallen over the last few years.

Brockdish School closes this week after pupil numbers have fallen over the last few years. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

But for pupils at Brockdish Primary School, near Harleston, the last day of term was tinged with sadness because the school will not reopen its doors in September. The future of Norfolk's smallest primary school, which started the year with 12 pupils, had been uncertain for a number of months before its permanent closure was confirmed at Easter.

However staff and pupils were determined to celebrate their last day at the school and create happy memories to take away with them.

The youngsters watched a film, enjoyed the sunshine in their playground and were thrown a party in the afternoon. As a parting gift the pupils, who are aged between five and nine, were given farewell presents.

Jacqui Sydney, head of school, said: 'At the moment it is still quite surreal. It is a sad day, but it is a celebration of the children here. They are fantastic.

Brockdish School closes this week after pupil numbers have fallen over the last few years. Pictured

Brockdish School closes this week after pupil numbers have fallen over the last few years. Pictured is the school in the late 1980s without the extension on the side. Pupils and staff used a nissan hut and outdoor toilets until 1998. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016


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'There are a lot of positives; it is a new adventure for them. And socially they will benefit from a larger range of children to interact with.'

The eight pupils who finished the last term at Brockdish primary will be going to schools in Harleston, Pulham Market or will be home schooled.

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Sports equipment, books and resources from the school will be going to other schools in the area.

Mrs Sydney, who has been at the school for three years, praised its family atmosphere and 'nurturing' ways.

Brockdish School closes this week after pupil numbers have fallen over the last few years. Pictured

Brockdish School closes this week after pupil numbers have fallen over the last few years. Pictured are the last remaining pupils outside their school. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

'I have never been to a school where the children are so loving and well behaved,' she said. 'When we take them out it is always an absolute joy. We have had emails saying how beautifully behaved they were.

'We know all the children so well. Everybody that walks through the door say what a wonderful place and how happy the children are. They are nurtured here.'

The school will officially close on August 31.

A consultation was launched by Norfolk County Council earlier this year regarding the school's closure. Councillors said all avenues to save the school from closure had been exhausted.

Brockdish School closes this week after pupil numbers have fallen over the last few years. Pictured

Brockdish School closes this week after pupil numbers have fallen over the last few years. Pictured is the old outside toilet block used by staff and pupils until the late 1990s. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

The number of pupils attending the school had not risen above 35 in the past decade.

The school which was once a workhouse

The school was originally a workhouse.

When a work house was built in Pulham Market the Rev George France bought the building for £100 to £150.

He opened it in 1845 as a primary school to educate the children of Brockdish.

A record book kept by the school reveals some interesting information about the small and rural school:

Children were taken out blackberry picking on October 10 1918.

In 1920 there were 66 children recorded as attending the school.

During the Second World War the school had a number of evacuees attend.

On June 23 1941 there were 58 local children on the books and 26 evacuees.

In 1954 there were 91 children who attended the school.

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