A CORONATION ceremony was the highlight of week-long celebrations at St Paul’s CE Primary School in Royton to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Headteacher Mrs Hilary Henderson wanted to ensure the children fully immersed themselves with the special occasion so classes were ‘off-timetable’ for the week.
Instead, the children enjoyed researching and learning about Queen Elizabeth and her royal family and her reign which has covered 70 years so far.
Sports Days were held across the week where each child represented one of six of the Commonwealth countries. A Pageant of Talent was also celebrated.
The school also provided afternoon teas for members of the community who had been nominated to receive a sumptuous array of tasty treats.
But the Crowning Glory was on Thursday, May 26, when the children St Paul’s Church to re-live the experience of the 1953 Coronation service.
Mrs Henderson said: “Children learn best from first hand experiences which are always memorable.
“I wanted them to experience the ‘Coronation’, using the original words spoken and the liturgy in the service so the children could really know what it would have been like to have attended the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury was played by Canon Jim Burns while all the other roles were played by the Year 6 children, including Elizabeth II, Duke of Edinburgh, Dean of Westminster, Lord Chamberlain, Bishops, Lords, Knights of the garter and ladies in Waiting.
The school choir sang ‘Zadok the Priest’ and John Rutter’s ‘Gaelic Blessing’ and John Collins (MD of Oldham Band Lees) brought brass players to provide the fanfares throughout.
The organist was Richard Booth who accompanied all the hymns, including ‘All People that on earth do dwell’ using the Vaughan Williams used at the original Coronation.
As a tribute to those who have fled Ukraine, the school sang ‘Peace Perfect Peace’ and also used sign language to demonstrate prayers for the country.
The service included presentations of the orb, sceptre, rod and dove, sword, sapphire ring, gold robe and the crown all beneath a pall of gold shining cloth.
And it finished with a rousing rendition of ‘Jerusalem’ and the ‘National Anthem’ during which the Queen changed yet again from her gold robe to the regal purple before leaving the church to join her ‘people’ outside.
More than 100 guests and parents attended, wearing their finest clothing including an array of fascinators, hats and medals, in addition to the whole school with children as young as three contributing to the 1 hour and 20 minute service.
Special guests included former governors of the school, representatives from Oldham Council education department, former Mayors and their consorts, the CEO of Cranmer Trust, members of clergy and many other members of the local community including St Paul’s church.
The church wardens had organised the church bells to be rung as the ‘Queen’ processed out to be greeted by everyone lining the immediate streets, waving flags and cheering.
When the children returned to school they enjoyed Platinum Picnic with party food.
All the school community were given a special commemorative coin as a memento of the special occasion.