Wednesday, October 16, 2013

To Lancaster... present prizes won by pupils at Ripley St Thomas CE Academy, in the 2013 Schools Bible Project. This excellent school is set in magnificent surroundings - a glorious Victorian building, with a great tower, a sense of welcome, some wonderful stained glass, and a splendid sense of reassurance and confidence about it, set in fine grounds. And the grounds include a farm - yes, a farm, and pupils relish it, spending part of their time in wellies, digging and planting, and eating the results, as great stacks of fresh produce is taken to the school kitchens for lunch. I loved my visit: a friendly gathering in the staff-room with an inspirational start to the day,  a warm welcome at morning assembly in the magnificent chapel, where it was a pleasure to hand over the Bible prizes one by one, and to join the pupils at and talk with the Principal and head of RE and chaplain...and then a couple of pupils showed me round the school. They were so obviously proud to be part of it all - everything from the great entrance hall with its  fine staircase, to the sheep and ponies and rabbits in the farm, and on to to the big hall where a dance class was in progress, and the sports field and the science labs and the classrooms...and all the students looking smart in brought blue blazers, and a great sense of  friendliness everywhere. The school is rooted in a deep tradition of Evangelical Christianity and it shows. I was impressed, and cheered.

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