Clare: Pupils create book tribute for closing middle school

Pupils at a West Suffolk school due to close this summer are working with a professional artist to design a book commemorating the good times they have had over the years.

Clare Middle School is expected to shut its doors for the last time on July 31, as part of the county-wide shift from a three-tier school system to a two-tier system.

The commemorative tome, entitled ‘The Best Bits’, will contain words and images celebrating the favourite memories of pupils, parents and other people connected with the school.

Children’s illustrator Jo Brooker, from Long Melford, has been working with a select group of 15 of the most creative pupils in order to ensure the book is up to professional standards.

Around 500 books will be printed when the project is completed, and gifted to all children and adults associated with the school.

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The artistic venture is the brainchild of two teachers: English teacher Fairlie Ryan and Head of Art and Design Ruth Plumb, and is the culmination of a number of initiatives leading up to the middle school’s last days.

The school, which has around 280 pupils aged 11 to 13 years, will become one of the country’s first independent free schools in the Autumn. Many teachers face an uncertain future with few jobs guaranteed under the new set-up.

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But, for Ms Ryan, the book has been a chance to concentrate on all that is positive about the school.

“Regardless of what happens to the building in years to come, this book should act a wonderful reminder for people to look back on,” she said.

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