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South Hampstead Junior School students past and present celebrate 60-year anniversary

PUBLISHED: 15:26 12 December 2017

Celebrating 60 years of SHHS Junior School on Netherall Gardens. Visiting alumni Joan Arnold, Linda Carter (nee Goldridge) and Debby Cumming pictured with students. Pictured back centre SHHS Juniors Headteacher Gabrielle Solti. Photo by Polly Hancock

Celebrating 60 years of SHHS Junior School on Netherall Gardens. Visiting alumni Joan Arnold, Linda Carter (nee Goldridge) and Debby Cumming pictured with students. Pictured back centre SHHS Juniors Headteacher Gabrielle Solti. Photo by Polly Hancock

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South Hampstead Junior School pupils have marked 60 years since the school moved into its own separate site at 12 Netherhall Gardens in 1957.

SHHS Junior branch classroom in 1957, featuring centre back sharing a desk, Joan Arnold and Linda Carter and also middle row far right the young Lyndsey De Paul. Photo by South Hampstead High School archivesSHHS Junior branch classroom in 1957, featuring centre back sharing a desk, Joan Arnold and Linda Carter and also middle row far right the young Lyndsey De Paul. Photo by South Hampstead High School archives

As part of the celebrations, students from reception to Year 6 dressed up in 1950s clothing and listened to special guest alumnae speakers Joan Arnold, Linda Carter and Debbie Cumming talk about their childhoods at the junior school and the move to Netherhall Gardens.

Thinking back on her school days, Linda said: “From the age of seven until 18 years, South Hampstead taught me and my sister Ann to be creative in our thinking, resilient when things didn’t go to plan and gave us the confidence to speak in front of large groups of people.

“Most of my closest friends today are the ones I made at school.”

Linda went on to be a teacher and was the headmistress of Christchurch Primary School in Hampstead for 14 years before retiring in 2007.

Junior school headmistress Gabrielle Solti added: “Education and how we teach has changed in 60 years but what stays the same at South Hampstead Junior School is our real sense of community.

“Then and now, our pupils leave for the Senior School happy, confident and with lots to say about the world they live in.”

In 2017, 12 Netherhall Gardens houses classrooms for the junior school’s youngest pupils from reception to Year 4, the school’s main hall, a library, art room and science lab.

The remaining classrooms for Years 5 and 6 are located across the road at 5 Netherhall Gardens, purchased in 1993 to take in 100 extra pupils in response to the school’s popularity. The site also houses the school dining room, music room, another library and a DT room.

The junior school has two new playgrounds, raised beds – looked after by the school’s gardening club – and a mini outdoor sports pitch. Junior school pupils also take advantage of sports facilities at the Senior School and at the school’s extensive sports ground nearby on Lymington Road.

The Junior School PTA also marked 60 years at Netherhall Gardens with a party for the South Hampstead High School community in November. A speech by Mrs Solti was followed by an evening of cocktails, food and entertainment, from a magician, caricaturist, photo booth, DJ and band.

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