MUCH has changed in the world since John Blandy Primary School opened, but its ethos of inspiring kind, happy and keen learners has stood the test of time.

The 189-pupil school in Southmoor, between Abingdon and Faringdon, celebrates its 50th birthday this year and pupils are set to bury a time capsule next week to commemorate the occasion.

Co-headteacher Sarah Thompson said: “This year is a massive milestone for us.

“The whole school studied a topic about time, and learnt about different aspects of the past 50 years, about art and history and popular culture and the local history of our village.

“Historians and community members came in to talk about how life has changed.”

The Oxford Mail’s visit coincided with sports day, during which children relished activities such as the classic egg and spoon race.

Mrs Thompson said: “Happy children learn: that’s a message we very much believe in.

“Academics is a real focus, but you can achieve in lots of different areas. Our curriculum is very broad and varied.”

All assemblies and teaching focus on key values, which currently is ‘patience’.

Reading is promoted and particular books are studied in detail, and each lesson aims to involve these texts as inspiration.

Mrs Thompson said books and reading were valued by the school community, and parent fundraisers facilitated a refurbishment of the school library last year.

The school is currently planning a redesign of the playground in the summer holidays alongside building work for six new classrooms, which will allow for an increased intake.

Mrs Thompson said the school values its links with the wider community, and said the school’s intake is expanding to match the growth of the village.

She added: “We feel that strong community links are a real basis of the school ethos.”

The school gives out a weekly ‘kindness award’ to pupils who have demonstrated the trait, and they get to take home a trophy.

Mrs Thompson said: “I’m incredibly proud of our children’s attitude and the vibrancy and energy children have for their learning.

“We think the children show great respect and visitors always comment on the warmth within the school."

Mrs Thompson shares her leadership role with co-headteacher Clare Silvester.

She said it was a ‘unique situation’ to have two heads but credited the ‘forward-thinking’ school leaders for supporting a job share, which she said allowed both her and her counterpart to make time for their families.