STRATFORD’S oldest primary school is to be renamed after the town’s most famous church as part of a move to highlight the strong connections between the two.
The Willows C of E Primary School, established in the town almost 200 years ago, will be renamed Holy Trinity C of E Primary School from September.
Holy Trinity Church founded the first primary school in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1823. It became known as The Willows C of E school in the 1980s when it moved site to the road of that name.
Headteacher Jo Howell said: “Holy Trinity is one of the most famous and visited churches in England and as this is the church where our school began, this makes us very special.
“Residents and the wider community are not always aware of the connection, yet as a school and church we are deeply proud of this link. As we continue to work closely together, we want to celebrate this through our shared name. We wanted a name that reflect the character of the school, after all there are not many schools that can say they were founded by Shakespeare’s church.
“We’ve decided to do this now because there have been a lot of positive changes at the school recently, we’ve been reinvigorating our curriculum by working with local grammar schools and universities and there is just a great feeling here at the moment. It’s about putting the school on the map really, Holy Trinity is the most visited church in England and any organisations interested in the church would be more likely to take an interest in the school as well if they were aware of the connection we share.
“The school has moved several times since it was set up in 1823 and its name has also changed, I think our association with Holy Trinity Church has been lost a bit and we want to re-invigorate it. When we asked our pupils how we could celebrate the school it was actually them that suggested this name change, which was very positive, and they will be involved in designing the new school logo.”
The school’s name will officially change in September, though the Bishop of Coventry, the Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth and Stratford Mayor Cllr John Bicknell, will attend a special service at the church on 24th June to mark the change.
Reverend Patrick Taylor, of Holy Trinity Church, added: “The school is a Church school, not a faith school. This means that while it is a Church of England School with a Christian ethos, it is fully inclusive and teaches about all faiths. We are here to serve the whole community and we want the pupils to experience life in all its fullness.”
Pupils, staff, governors and the Holy Trinity Parochial Church Council all unanimously support the decision to re-name The Willows.
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