SCHOOL day memories are being sought for a celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of a popular East Oxford school.

Larkrise First School in Boundary Brook Road, opened in April 1972 to take on the infants’ department of Donnington Council School.

Pupils, staff and parents past and present are invited to come together for a big celebration including displays, food and presentations at the school on Wednesday, March 28.

And two present day teachers know the history better than most.

Year Six teacher Helen Davies, who now lives in Yarnton and is 40, was a pupil at the school in 1976, and has been teaching there for seven years.

She said: “When I was growing up I loved it and I’m not at all surprised it has carried on and is still going strong — I hope it carries on for another 40 years.”

It was the first choice for 1990s pupil Emily Etherton when she started looking for a teaching job – even though that meant working for her old headteacher, Mark Chesterton, who has been at the school since 1988.

Miss Etherton, 26, who lives in Abingdon, said: “We had such a lovely time. It was a brilliant place to come and learn and when I applied for jobs it was the one I really wanted.

“I did feel like the new girl when I came back but it has been funny being back in the same classrooms, the library now used to be my classroom.”

The school nearly didn’t make past its second birthday – it was hit by a major fire in 1973, seeing pupils crammed together while repair work and new building was carried out.

Back in 1972 it started with just under 200 youngsters. Now a primary school, it takes more than 430 children who speak 26 different languages between them.

Among those who know the school best is senior leader of the foundation unit Diana Eastwood. She joined the staff in 1975, and after a five-year stint teaching left to have children, all three of whom went through the school.

She returned full-time as a teacher 13 years ago.

Mrs Eastwood, who lives in Iffley Fields, said: “There is a lot to celebrate. It’s a very happy place with a lovely ethos and huge diversity.”

Business manager Jane Grant, who is organising the event, said: “We have tried to contact as many past employees and pupils as we can and given them an invitation and asked them to write a memory of their school days.”

Did you go to or teach at Larkrise? If you have memories to share, call Jane Grant on 01865 721476.