FROM small beginnings 50 years ago, Winchcombe School has gone from strength to strength.

In 1960, the Education Committee spent two years building the new school to replace the old buildings on Back Lane.

Since it was officially opened in July 19, 1963, by Major Birchall, generations of children have passed through its doors as well as it nearly doubling in size and converting into an academy in June last year.

Pupils and staff have been celebrating the milestone all year with a series of events including a summer ball, a quiz about the school over the past five decades and is ending with a 50th Anniversary Variety Show tomorrow.

John Rand, the school’s first ever headmaster, returned to the school this summer for the review of the year, which current headteacher Neil Hall said was an eye-opener.

“We were delighted he was able to come back and hand out the prizes 50 years down the line,” he said.

“He talked us through the massive changes in the school from his day. Pupils were provided with their PE kit and it was handed back in after the lesson and it was laundered for them. It was given back to them next lesson.”

The school has seen a lot of development over the years including a £1.2 million new performing arts block and all-weather pitch which was opened last April and a new eightclassroom English block which was built a decade ago.

Mr Hall, who first joined the school himself in September 1984 as a PE and Geography teacher, said despite seeing a lot of changes during his time, the school’s ethos had never changed.

“The numbers were much lower,” he said.

“There were 300 students when I first started and now we are up to almost 500.

“I think it’s always been a school that prides itself on the personal touch. You can see it when you walk through the door. It’s always been a family-orientated school.

“Pupils I taught years ago are now teaching their sons and daughters. It’s nice to have that continuity.

We’re looking forward to the next 50 years.”