Haydonleigh Primary School welcomed back its first headteacher to help raise a new ‘Black Cat’ flag to celebrate its twentieth year on 4 September.
When the single form entry primary opened in a temporary classroom in September 1995, there were just 23 children. Now it’s a three form entry school catering for 530 children.
Former headteacher Jon Swaffield said the school moved into the completed building in November 1995. “Whenever we visited the construction site there was always a black cat, so when the governors were looking for a logo, somebody suggested it be the cat. He or she continued to appear after we moved in; it was a good omen because, for me, Haydonleigh is a lovely place and has always been the happiest school in Swindon.”
Joining him in pulling the flag up the pole were two staff members who were there on opening day, reception teacher Helen Steward (née Smith) and teaching assistant Carol Chambers (née Gorton) who joined as an MDSA.
Jon added: “Haydonleigh was almost too small when it opened because it was built just as the baby boom was taking place in North Swindon; the demand for places has continued right up to the present day. I think the head Frances Billenge and her team have done a great job in maintaining the happy atmosphere whilst being judged as a good school by Ofsted.”
Mrs Billinge said: “It was great way to start the new school year with a celebration. The children sang Happy Birthday in English and French and we served the black cat birthday cake to parents and children who enjoyed a bouncy castle and games organised by the Friends of Haydonleigh School.”