The nursery school at Church High School was founded in 1994 and this year celebrates its 20th birthday in what will become an historic year as Church High prepares to join together with neighbouring independent school Central High, becoming Newcastle High School for Girls.
The girls and staff shared their memories of their time at nursery with a firm eye on the future as they looked forward to the early years’ opportunities nursery pupils at the school will enjoy. Penny Breakey was employed by Church High to set up the nursery in 1994 and was joined by Jackie Goodwill when it opened its doors to the first girls at the beginning of the year. Two years after opening, Kerrie Salkeld also joined the team, meaning the three have an combined total of 58 years working together in the nursery school. The nursery team have seen girls grow through the school from the very first day they started and to celebrate this anniversary, they welcomed back some of the year eight and nine girls who were members of the nursery when it turned 10 in 2004.â€¨â€¨
Penny Breakey, said: “As the first step into school life for our girls, the nursery team have always been dedicated to ensuring a warm and caring environment which offers children a great start to their school career and helps develop their young minds with lots of fun activities. I can’t quite believe it has been 20 years since we first founded the nursery, it’s certainly flown over!
“One of the highlights for me is seeing the girls grow through the school and watching them as they achieve so highly in all aspects of their school careers and development as young people. It has been a great pleasure to have worked with and got to know so many parents and families over the years.”â€¨
Lily-Ann Houghton is one of the year eight pupils who paid the nursery department a visit to join in the celebrations. She said: “I joined Church High nursery when I was just two and a half years old and I have some great memories of playing with play-dough and enjoying our juice and biscuits.”
Year eight pupil Millie Riley was also a play-dough fan during her time at nursery. Twins Lauren and Sophie Blanch, both 13 and in year nine, have developed a love for PE and art which likely stems from their time at nursery where their favourite memories were painting with hands and feet!â€¨And 14-year-old Olivia Gill has a number of experiences of school life and cultural changes after starting out at Church High nursery when she was three; Olivia then spent two years in China studying at an American school. Now back at Church High, Olivia’s favourite memory of nursery was the coat pegs with fun pictures above them!â€¨â€¨
The transition to Newcastle High School for Girls this September will bring together the strong core values of both Church High and Central High, offering dedicated teaching and an innovative curriculum. There is already high demand for places and both schools are looking forward to the future they have in store where nursery girls will continue to experience the best possible start to their school lives. â€¨â€¨
Jackie Goodwill, who will take on a new role at Newcastle High School for Girls, said: “We’ve got a lot of very happy memories from the past 20 years; it’s been lots of fun working together and meeting so many people through the nursery. We have seen many exciting changes over the years but some traditions never change – we are all very much looking forward to the future and the nursery’s next step.”