It must have felt like heaven when pupils moved to the new St Joseph’s School in Oxford.

Smart, luxury classrooms greeted them in Headley Way, Headington, a far cry from the rundown buildings they had just left in St Clement’s.

The former school on a cramped site between the Port Mahon pub and St Clement’s rectory had served the community well for 100 years, but was well past its best.

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The change occurred in September 1968 and, according to pupils, parents, teachers and supporters, was long overdue.

Oxford Mail:

Since then, the school has featured regularly in the Oxford Mail, as these pictures show.

St Clement’s was clearly a happy school although, by the mid-1960s, one city councillor, Philip Butler, described conditions there as a disgrace.

The main buildings were old – the hall dated from 1793 – the heating was poor, it had outside toilets and fungus grew on the walls.

The playground was so small that the 200 children had to take turns to play.

Oxford Mail:

Traffic through St Clement’s made so much noise that the teacher in the front classroom had to shut the windows and suffocate, or shout.

Oxford Mail:

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Plans to re-site the school were constantly rejected by city councillors, who were in charge of education in Oxford at that time.

Mother Mary Scholastica told the Oxford Mail in 1965: “Other schools have precedence over us because councillors say we have a roof over our heads.

“We’ve been turned down for 1967 and now we’re hoping to get in for 1968.”

Oxford Mail:

Her prayers were finally answered. The new St Joseph’s School opened in Headley Way, with seven classrooms, swimming pool, library and hall also used as a gym.

Joyce Austin was still a volunteer helper at 82.

The school marked her long service and 80th birthday in 2000 by laying on a limousine to take her to a jewellers.