St Ives school begins celebrations for diamond anniversary

1955 starters at St Ivo, the school are trying to find out who these people are

1955 starters at St Ivo, the school are trying to find out who these people are - Credit: Archant

St Ivo School is celebrating 60 years since it opened its doors to the first intake of pupils on Wednesday, September 7, 1955.

St Ivo School in 1955

St Ivo School in 1955 - Credit: Archant

The school welcomed 323 pupils from all boys and all girls’ local community primary schools that were being phased out when the brand new secondary opened.

Appointed as its school’s first headteacher in May 1955 Maurice Clapham moved onto the building site into a caravan as the school house wasn’t finished and watched the school’s single teaching building progress.

Unfortunately when September came the school was not finished but pupils were still educated by 16 teachers, who were free to devise their own curriculums.

Once the new term was in full swing Mr Clapham installed the policy that the students had to call their teachers sir and madam to prepare them for their future roles in the service sector of St Ives – which is a polite tradition that still exists in the school today.

Three generations of the same family went to Ivo School, (l-r) Louis Cobb, (12) Dad Steven Cobb, (42

Three generations of the same family went to Ivo School, (l-r) Louis Cobb, (12) Dad Steven Cobb, (42) and Grandad Stewart Cobb, (74) looking at some of the football trophies, - Credit: Archant

In 1970 St Ivo became of comprehensive school that accepted pupils of all abilities from the district of Huntingdonshire. Later that year the school decided to open a sixth form which now are a part of the around 1800 pupils and 200 staff.

Parents, governors, staff and alumni kicked off the school’s diamond anniversary celebrations with a party organised by the school’s new parents’ association. Revellers were treated to ‘Ivo Cocktail’ on arrival and shared memories of their time at the school.

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St Ivo is planning a number of other exciting activities and events throughout the academic year to share celebrations with current pupils and the wider community.

This month sees the launch of a new Alumni Association that will bring together those who went to the school including notable alumni paralympic sprinter Jonnie Peacock, actress Leanne Jones and Norwich City and England goalkeeper John Ruddy.

As the school marks more than half a century of education it has welcomed a new headteacher Sam Griffin.

“St Ivo School is very special because throughout the last 60 years it has remained the only secondary school serving the town of St Ives and its surrounding villages.

“We have so many parents and staff who attended the school themselves and in some cases are the third generation within a family to come here. The students here are an absolute credit and I truly believe that I have taken over a ‘gem’ of a school.”

Can you put names to the faces?

As a part of the school’s 60th anniversary it is asking for help in identifying the faces in photo above which shows a group of some of the first students to start at the school in 1955. If anyone knows who any who them are the school would like you to contact them on

Three generations attend St Ivo

It can be daunting for any pupil to go from primary school to secondary school but when you have two generations of your family that have already walked down the same corridors it makes life a little easier.

Louis Cobb, 12, has followed on from his dad Steven who went to the school from 1984-1989 and his granddad Stewart and a host of other uncles and aunts in attending St Ivo.

“When I went to St Ivo it was a bit daunting having been to the old St Ives community primary school but it was a good experience. The old cp was an all boys’ school so when I went up to St Ivo is was different to have girls in my classes as well,” said 74-year-old Stewart.

Stewart recalls a number of teachers at the school during his time there from 1955-1957 including form master Mr Sayer, woodwork teacher Mr Siberbage, “they were great teachers and taught me a lot whilst I was there.”

Just like his granddad and dad, Louis has taken up the bat to play cricket but is lucky enough to enjoy the sports fields that was made part of the school in 1970’s. “We used to have to go off site to play cricket and other sports sometimes we up to Warner’s Park or up to RAF Wyton,” added Stewart.

After visiting the school again last week dad Steven, 42, couldn’t believe how much it has expanded since his time there in the 1980’s.

Steven said: “It was good fun at the school when I went there, I made some good friends and it helped me get somewhere in business but I couldn’t believe how big it has now got.

“There is something for kids to do at lunchtime and after school, when I was there we used to go home at 3.15 and that would be it.”

When the decision came to choose where Louis would go to secondary school there was only one choice for dad Steven.

“This was our number one choice for Louis, we live In Holywell so we thought were going to be a little far out but we were happy when we heard he got in.

“Before he started I told him to keep his head down, work hard and then you can play hard,” added Steven.