AN ANDOVER primary school has been celebrating its 50 birthday in style - with a packed day of events.

Pupils from Knights Enham Juniors, on King Arthur Way, enjoyed an outdoor assembly with speeches from headteacher Dan Whitehouse and former headteacher Tim Eyles before they were entertained by a pop-up circus, took part in an organised water-fight and feasted on doughnuts.

They also enjoyed a dance performance by Year 5 students, who received a special round of applause after it emerged they learnt the entire routine in just two days.

Addressing the dozens of pupils, Mr Eyles told them he was “proud” to return to the school, 25 years on from the moment he buried a time capsule alongside pupils back in 1996.

“I am very proud to be here and be apart of the school’s history,” he said.

In honour of the school’s birthday, the two headteachers planted an apple tree.

“The idea is that one day your children might be able to come along and enjoy an apple from the tree,” Mr Eyles said.

Beth Horne, a teaching assistant specialising in supporting youngsters with emotional needs, said it was “marvellous” to see the children enjoying themselves.

Philip Sheppard, 38, a parent governor at the school, said: “After everything that has been going on this year with Covid, it is nice to see all the children having fun,” he said.

The junior school has 199 pupils and will be rising to 208 students in September, according to Mr Sheppard.

New headteacher Mr Whitehouse joined the school in January - at the height of the second lockdown - and he has set himself on a mission to re-establish the school within the community.

But it hasn’t been without its difficulties, he said.

“Two months into my job, I still hadn’t met all of the children due to Covid,” Mr Whitehouse explained.

But now, seven months in and with students now back in school, Mr Whitehouse is hopeful they will be able to enjoy a more normal school experience in September.

And it is in the autumn term that Mr Whitehouse is hoping for a fresh start all-round.

He said: “We’ve introduced a new vision for the school to give it a fresh start. We have rewritten our values and have a new curriculum launching in September.

“The school has been on a difficult journey but it now has a new leadership in place and in some respects, we haven’t stopped. We’re just going to keep pushing and pushing to make this the best school it can be,” he told The Advertiser.

Speaking about what brought him to the role, Mr Whitehouse said he was “blown away” during a visit to the school and decided not to apply for any other jobs.

“I could see the potential here and thought this was a great opportunity,” he said.

Studying sports science at Southampton University, Mr Whitehouse took a year out to work in education before deciding to undergo a teaching course at Winchester University. Before arriving at Knights Enham Juniors in January, he worked in a number of deputy leadership roles in other schools in Hampshire.

Looking to the future, the 36-year-old said his ambition is to make the school the best it can be.

Knights Enham Juniors has overcome challenges in previous years and was rated “Good” during Ofsted’s last inspection in December 2018.