Former pupil and head girl visit Penwortham Priory Academy

Posted on - 27th June, 2022 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Nostalgia, Penwortham, Preston News, South Ribble News
Sonia and Matt. Priory_14/6/22_© Andy Ford

82-year-old Sonia Ward, the first Head Girl at Penwortham Priory Academy returned to her former school to look around and see the changes since she left.

Sonia was among the first group of pupils to attend the school which opened in 1953 as Penwortham Secondary Modern and despite all the changes since Sonia insists the atmosphere and feel of the school is still the same.

Headteacher Matt Eastham invited her back to the school which has been fitted out with a new science laboratory building, a humanities building and IT block.

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During her visit, Sonia was shown photos of her year group and time at the school.

Sonia said: “They say your school days are the best of your life and I was happy at Priory, I cannot see any pupil not being happy here as it’s an amazing school.

“I was Head Girl and Roy Rich was Head Boy. I have spotted him on some photos Mr Eastham has shown me and I can remember a lot of my classmates when I see their pictures. It’s so beautiful to see. 

“I don’t know how I got the role of Head Girl. I think the headteacher and staff nominated me, but I was honoured to get it.  

“I remember one of our jobs as prefects was to search the school as pupils then had to leave the buildings at break and dinner and some were always trying to hide indoors from the cold. Our job was to find them!  

“We also helped new pupils settle in when they arrived and did a lot of the usual jobs.  

Sonia’s old school photo. Sonia is at the end of the front row, far right

“I came back many years ago for a reunion but then I had a family and started work at County Hall and it’s my first time back since then. I cannot get over how amazing it is.  

“There is still the main building from when I was here although obviously it’s been modernised inside and expanded.   

“Saying that, the basic layout of it is still the same and I remember the main corridor and I could point out which classroom was where. I remember the science labs were on the top floor and they have their own building now.  

“I also asked if the bungalow where the girls did ‘Housecraft’ is still there. It was a place we learnt cooking and sewing. It does still exist but it’s a storage place now.  

“We did do different subjects, it was a different time. I enjoyed sports the most and was on the rounders and netball team.  

“Even though it has changed, it still feels like Priory.”  

Headteacher Mr Eastham: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to welcome Sonia back to Priory, to share our stories, look back over photos and chat about how the school has evolved from the time she was Head Girl here.  

“It’s particularly pleasing to know that she still felt like she was coming back to her school, to Priory, despite it looking and feeling very different to when she was a pupil here.  

“Next year we will celebrate our 70th birthday as a school, so we’ll look forward to welcoming Sonia back as part of those celebrations too.” 

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