Bishop celebrates Taxal & Fernilee school’s 25th

Pupils and teachers of Taxal and Fernilee primary school were joined by former pupils, teachers and guests to welcome the Bishop of Stockport, Rt Rev Robert Atwell,  to celebrations of the school’s 25th anniversary at its new site.

Guests celebrate: With the bishop, school head Vicky Keen. To her right, Darrel Speedy who was vicar of Whaley Bridge 25 years ago. On the bishop's left, High Peak mayor David Lomax

The original school  at Horwich End was founded in 1848.  Growth of population in Whaley Bridge meant that by 1982 the school had to move to a prime site off Macclesfield Road.  It was completed in 1986, and since then there have been  extensions in 1986 and a new classroom and entrance area in 2000. 

Taxal and Fernilee is a Church of England school, and  one of the  two serving Whaley Bridge.  Its reputation for innovation, including welcoming pupils  from  the Polish twin town of Tymbark, is now legendary.  In 2012,  Whaley pupils will be making a return visit to the school in Poland.

All the children were sitting in a horse-shoe round a single chair as the bishop arrived, wearing his purple cassock.  He joked to them that it wasn’t his everyday wear, for instance when shopping at Tesco’s.

Then he produced a wide, shallow case. He opened it up to the puzzled  children,  producing three pieces he said that looked like a snooker cue.  Then a curved, golden top for the pole.  What is it, he asked.  “A crook”, one replied.  Bishop Robert explained that  another word was crozier.  His job, he said, was like a shepherd, trying to keep people from straying as a shepherd did with his crook, pulling them back  to the path.

He told them the biblical story of shepherd boy David, who famously stood up to the enemy bully Goliath the giant and felled him with one stone from his sling. Bishop Robert added:  “My job a shepherd is standing up for people, so they are not bullied.”

After a short service, headteacher Vicky Keen led the children and guests out into the playground.  In the wind – but luckily no rain –  the bishop blessed the school buildings, and congratulated the children and staff on an excellent school.



Are you a former pupil at the school,  or maybe a parent or teacher?  What are your memories?  What about the school’s achievements over the years, both on the new site and the former site at Horwich End? is interested in your stories and pictures.  Send them to:

Cllr Jon Goldfinch
c/o James Middleton
89,Buxton Road,
Whaley Bridge,
High Peak,
SK23 7HX

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