CHILDREN and staff at Wood Farm Primary School were treated to a Royal visit in recognition of them now playing a leading role in helping other Oxford schools.

His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester was warmly welcomed by crowds of pupils waving Union Flags at the entrance to the school in Titup Hall Drive, Wood Farm, yesterday.

During a complete tour of the school, Prince Richard met children of all year groups who presented their displays of art work, along with a ‘Friendship Bench’ which was designed by the school’s council and a volunteer artist.

The Duke, who is the Queen’s cousin, then visited the adjacent Slade Nursery School before unveiling a plaque to mark the primary being recognised as a national support school.

The honour means Wood Farm will now help other schools across the city improve the way they educate youngsters.

Headteacher David Lewin, who has also been appointed a national leader of education, said it was ‘absolutely lovely’ to show the Duke around the school.

Mr Lewin added the Royal visit was a ‘culmination of the story of Wood Farm going from strength to strength’.

He said: “It’s been really exciting for us. The staff have worked incredibly hard over many years.

“It was lovely to meet him [the Duke]. He was very interested in the school, very interested in looking at the work the children have done and talking to staff about how we have improved the school.”

As His Royal Highness was given a tour, he asked questions about the school building, which was completed a number of years ago.

The Duke was also treated to masterpieces from the pupils in their exhibition as part of Oxfordshire Artweeks, which included a swan and dragon sculpture, as well as portraits and a tree.

HRH Prince Richard who used to practice as an architect, praised the hard work of the staff at pupils in a short speech. Staff, councillors and school governors watched Prince Richard unveil a plaque which marked their new status.

His Royal Highness said he would ‘usually say something very pompous’ which sparked laughter in the audience, before asking ‘when there was the last Wood in the Farm?’.

He said: “It is a great pleasure to visit your school.

“I congratulate you. Just to point out you don’t actually get a better school unless you did rather well with the old one, but I think that is clearly the case [here] where your efforts have been rewarded through this new school.

“I’m sure all of you will appreciate it and it just leaves me to wish the very best of luck to all those who come here whether to teach or to learn.”