Our History

The Fulbridge Academy is a large primary school in New England, Peterborough. It hosts just over 130 members of staff and approximately 700 pupils from over 30 different countries, every one of whom matters. The school provides an exciting and varied curriculum with themed corridors and inspiring classrooms. Our school is changing constantly, and has a Children’s Centre on site at the front of school; exciting new prospects are always on the horizon. The school has gained the status of being a National School of Creativity, one of only 56 schools nationally, from all educational sectors. Enjoy this website to view what is going on at Fulbridge at the moment. More pictures of our school can be found in the Heads Blog, just follow the link at the side of the page.

Fulbridge originally opened in 1935. It serves one of the oldest parts of the city. It is a three-form entry school with 90 children in a year group, 670 children in all and 130 adults work in our school in a wide range of capacities. The school is in the largest 20% of Primary School’s nationally and is the largest in the Local Authority. The school serves an area of social and economic disadvantage and the catchment area has been described as being rich in social and cultural diversity with most pupils living in the immediate vicinity of the school. 70% of the children’s families originate from overseas, with 60% having English as their second language. Around 24% are eligible for free school meals. The former Infant and Junior schools closed, over midnight on the 31st August and opened as Fulbridge Primary School on September 1st 2004. Prior to this when the school was a separate Infant and Junior School, the Junior School was in Special Measures from 2001 – 2003 and the current Head, Mr Iain M Erskine, and one of the deputies, Mrs Charlotte Krzanicki, took over during this period.

A significant and rising proportion of pupils are from minority ethnic groups and the largest groups are Pakistani and Eastern European. A large proportion of the pupils are at an early stage of learning English. The school has families and children from Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, amongst many other countries.

Pupil mobility is increasing steadily and is above the national average.

Approximately one-third of the pupils have SEN (including statements)

The school has achieved several awards including Artsmark, Activemark, Healthy Schools and Race Equality. There is a Children’s Centre on site that opened in May 2008. It also has 0-2, 2-3 and 3-4 Nursery classes. The school has recently, 2009, gained National School of Creativity status from the government backed Creative Partnerships, one of only 56 schools nationally across all education sectors.

The school embraced the key messages of Excellence and Enjoyment in 2002 and has been at the forefront of developing a creative curriculum over several years. A significant number of other schools have visited Fulbridge to learn about our creative approach to the curriculum and how it is planned and delivered. The school has been redecorated in line with the topic themes in a very distinctive style! The corridors are painted and designed in the themes of the children’s areas of study, so we have an Anderson shelter, a Tudor banqueting hall, an Egyptian tomb area, an African area, a Victorian house and classroom as well as many other themed areas.

As a school we worked closely with QCA and several national advisors on developing a whole school approach to learning and teaching which is truly creative in all respects as we have developed an approach that can truly be described as ‘original and of value.’

The first school in the New England area was New England Church of England School opening in 1860 and closing in 1902. From 1902 to 1911 children went to New England Council School and from 1911 to 1945 children attended Lincoln Road Council School.

On the 3rd October Rosemary Constance Hardcastle, daughter of Wilfred Hardcastle, of 24 Brownlow Road became our schools very first pupil.

Fulbridge Council School cost £20,000 to build. The architects were Dodson and Son and the main corridor is over 300 feet long.The classrooms and staff room could be found along one side of the corridor and the assembly halls, cloakrooms, toilets and storerooms on the other side.The whole building was centrally heated and at the back was a large playground and field. It was the first Peterborough school to be built with a field as part of its grounds. Hot water pipes were in the cloakrooms so that the children’s coats would dry out during the day if it had been raining. The builders were called Ellington and Son. In 1949 and 1960 extra corridors and classrooms were built as more families moved into the area.

In the October of 1935, Fulbridge Council School opened on the Keeton Road site. It has never been on Fulbridge Road! Mrs Grace Bailey became Head of the Infant School and in 1936 Mr Morris Bailey became Head of the Junior School. They were not related or married, it was just a coincidence that they had the same surname. The school day was from 9.00am to 12 noon when all the children had to go home for lunch. The afternoon session began at 2.00pm and finished at 4.30pm. There was about 45 children in each class! On your birthday Mr Bailey would let you go home at 4.15pm once you had collected a ‘new penny’ from him which you would go and spend at ‘Jumbo’s, the corner shop.

Below is a letter from Mr Bailey to the parents, a school report from 1940 and a photograph from that time. The girl with the cross above her head is Jean Wallace, the recipient of the school report. We do not however think the photograph is taken at Fulbridge Council School.

The school was built with iron railings along the front but in 1940 they were taken down and melted to help with the ‘war effort.’ The school was used as a centre for evacuees from London, they were allocated to homes from the school. At the beginning of the Autumn Term 1939 the start of term was delayed by about three weeks whilst the brick built air raid shelters were built at the front of school where Keeton Road now is. The closest that bombs came to the school was Lincoln Road. If there had been an air raid during the night you did not have to come into school until 10.00am. When there was a raid during the day you had to enter the air raid shelters and you were not allowed to go home until someone arrived to pick you up. This could have been a long time and the shelters were not very comfortable. One day Mr. Bailey ran down the school corridors, when the air raid siren went off, shouting to stay in the classrooms and get under the desks! As he was doing this a German plane flew overhead and the sound of machine guns was heard.

Two years after the school opened in 1937, Mrs Joan Rigby who many years later was to work at the school as a Learning Support Assistant, started as a pupil in the school. One of her friends at the school was later to marry the one of Britain’s best loved comedians and become Mrs Ernie Wise. Joan remembers that she was famous for her tap dancing during the war years at school concerts. She was a member of the ‘Embassy Babes’ which is where she met Ernie Wise.

The school opened as Fulbridge Council School in 1935 and in 1945 Fulbridge Council School became two schools and was renamed Fulbridge County Junior and Fulbridge County Infant School. In 2004 the school once again became one school, named Fulbridge School. In its 75 years the schools on the Keeton Road site have only had ten Headteachers between them. They were Mrs Grace Bailey, Mr Morris Bailey, Miss Bridgestock who was at the school for less than two years – she left to get married, Miss Monica Leverett, Mr John Rickerby, Mrs Margeret Francis, Mr Gordon Smith, Mrs Maureen Ashby, Mr Colin Deans and now Mr Iain Erskine.

In 1952 a new Head was appointed to the Infant School. Her name was Miss Monica Leverett. It was not until 1962 that the Head of the Junior School changed, Mr John Rickerby became the Head. In 1966 Miss Hodgson started teaching in the Junior School and she was to teach there for over 30 years until very sadly she passed away, not long after retiring from teaching at the school. In 1970 another long standing teacher started teaching in the Infant School, that is Miss Brenda King. Miss King decided to retire from full time teaching in 2002. Councillor Charles Swift has been a Governor of the School for 50 years and Mrs Helen Bath our Chair of Governors has been a governor of the school for almost 40 years.

In 1978 Mrs Margaret Francis was appointed as Head of the Infant school and in 1979 after having been a class teacher and Deputy Head Mr Gordon Smith became Head of the Junior School. Eight years after Mr Smith was appointed Mrs Maureen Ashby became Head of the Infant School. In 1994 Mr Iain Erskine became Deputy Head of the Infant School and in 1996 when Mrs Ashby retired he became Head of the Infant School.

In September 1978 Mrs Helen Bath became Chair of the Governing Body but in 2000 the Governing Body that ran both schools had to separate into two Governing Bodies due to new government legislation. Mr Ian Millar became Chair of Governors in the Junior School for a short period of time before Cllr Charles Swift OBE took over in 2001.

Both schools were to have Ofsted Inspections that went very well in 1994 and 1996. In 1999 the Infant School had another successful Inspection and followed it with two consecutive National Awards for being one of the most improved schools in the country. Unfortunately just as Mr Smith was about to retire the Junior School failed an Inspection and was put into ‘Serious Weaknesses’ for a year. During that year Mr Smith retired and Mr Colin Deans who had been at the school for over 20 years as Deputy Head became Head for a year, leaving the school in  October 2001. The Junior School was inspected again in May 2001 and was judged as not having made enough progress and so was put into ‘Special Measures’ for two years. Mr Deans decided to resign in October 2001 and the Local Education Authority and the Governors asked Mr Erskine to run both schools. In September 2002 the schools became a ‘Partnership of Schools’ and for the first time since 1945 became one school again. The Junior School was significantly modernised during the period after Mr Erskine’s appointment and has made significant progress in that time against all the action points in the schools Action Plan. In June 2003 the Junior School was removed from Special Measures, having made good progress against the criterion that put the Junior School into Special Measures.

At midnight on August 31st 2004 both the Infant and Junior schools closed as the clock ticked past midnight and as the 1st September arrived they opened as a Primary School. Mr Erskine was appointed as the new Head of School under new legislation that allowed the Governors not to advertise the post nationally as long as there was only one Head in post and the Governors were happy with the effectiveness of that Head. The number in each year groups was reduced from 99 to 90.

The school took on a creative approach to teaching the National Curriculum which it went to develop significantly over the next few years becoming the lead school in a group of Peterborough schools that wanted to put creativity, first hand experience and use of the local environment at the centre of their approaches to delivering the curriculum.

In November 2005 the new primary school had a successful Ofsted Inspection. By September 2006 the school environment had been transformed with themed corridors, including an Anderson Shelter, an Egyptian Tomb, a Tudor Banqueting Hall, a Victorian school room, kitchen and living room as well as a castle with a dungeon and an African Lion King area amongst other such themed role play areas.

In June 2008 the school was assessed by the then governments flagship for creativity, Creative Partnerships to become a National School of Creativity. We were successful and became one of only 56 schools nationally across all education sectors to gain this prestigious status. November 2008 also saw another Ofsted Inspection that went well but highlighted the need to raise standards in KS1. This was followed, a year later with a monitoring visit from an HMI to look at KS1 standards.

In December 2010, the KS2 SATs results and league tables were published and we discovered that we are one of the most improved schools nationally – over a three year period. This was very pleasing but schools should not be judged solely on some tests done in a week in May each year in just three areas: reading, writing and mathematics. The tests are flawed and sometimes reflect how good schools are at teaching to the test, a good level can be achieved by having a good memory and regurgitating answers with, potentially, little understanding of what they have learnt.

Today Fulbridge School is a large primary school situated in New England, Peterborough. It hosts just over 130 members of staff and approximately 700 pupils from over 30 different countries, every one of whom matters. The school provides an exciting and varied curriculum with themed corridors and inspiring classrooms. Our school is changing constantly, and in the last few years has added a Children’s Centre on site at the front of school as well as a 0-2 Nursery.

In March 2012 the school was inspected by Ofsted and was graded ‘Outstanding’ in all five judgement areas that Ofsted judge schools upon. This is the highest grade that Ofsted can give. A year later the school converted into an Academy on March 1st 2013 and became known as ‘The Fulbridge Academy.’

In 2013 we were invited to become a Cambridge Primary Review Trust Alliance school and be part of this nationally recognised Schools Alliance, a national group of outstanding primary schools committed to CPR ideals and CPRT priorities, led by Robin Alexander. The CPR was launched in October 2006 as a fully independent enquiry into the condition and future of primary education in England. The Review, directed by Professor Robin Alexander is the most comprehensive enquiry into English primary education since 1967. We are very proud to have been invited to be part of this national alliance. The Academy was also invited to be a ‘Pathfinder School’ for the prestigious national network called ‘Whole Education.’ Fulbridge has become known nationally for its academic success and innovative creative approach to the curriculum. Iain Erskine, the principal, talks all over the country at conferences about the successful curriculum approach and Fulbridge has educational visitors from all over the country on a regular basis and is recognised as being at the forefront of educational innovation.

In the summer of 2013 it was agreed that the Fulbridge Academy would expand from a 3 form to 4 form entry school. This meant that a new school building would be built on a neighbouring site two minutes walk away, behind the houses that face the school on Keeton Road. This was in response to the lack of required school places in Peterborough but particularly in our area of the city. Fulbridge at this point had waiting lists of up to 50 or 60 children in some year groups. The new site will have 8 class bases, a hall, office, staff room and meeting room and will be for Years 5 and 6. There were also some modifications to the new site, including extending the main hall and building a new class room. The new school building will have a performing arts theme with the class bases being named after famous studios and the building called Fulbridge Academy High.

In December 2014 the new building was opened. At the end of January an official opening ceremony took place and two stars of the West End, Sophie Linder-Lee and Paul Collings did the official opening. The new part of the Fulbridge Academy is called ‘Fulbridge Academy High: The Charles Swift Wing.’ Named after Cllr Charles Swift in recognition of over 50 years as a Governor and over 60 years as a councillor for the North Ward.

We can confidently predict that there will be further exciting new prospects on the horizon in the future.

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