End of an era as school's out for the last time

Goodbye to Sir Frank Markam Community School and hello to new academy

School's out for summer... with the closure of one of the city's longest-serving educational establishments marking the end of an era.

Sir Frank Markham Community School closed its doors for the final time on Friday with many staff and students now looking forward to starting the autumn term at the new Milton Keynes Academy.

And, as the new Academy nears completion, many took the chance to look back on the history of Sir Frank Markham Community School.

The building, which opened in 1979, is based at Woughton Campus in Leadenhall, and was originally called Sir Frank Markham School, but later adopted the name 'Community' School.

It was named after Sir Sydney Frank Markham, a former secretary to Ramsey MacDonald and Winston Churchill and in his later years an MP for North Buckinghamshire.

He was born in Stony Stratford in 1897 and attended local schools before his first job at Wolverton Printing Works.

Four years after his death in 1975 Sir Frank's name was given to the new school by his wife Frances who acted as school governor until her death in 1994.

A plaque is being erected at the new Milton Keynes Academy to commemorate Sir Frank and Lady Markham.

Neil Davies has been teaching at the school for 25 years. He said the school will leave a lasting memory, adding: "I met my wife Sue there!

"She was teaching English and I was teaching humanities. We have now been married for 20 years so Sir Frank will always be a special place for me."

Neil said it was an emotional time but a wonderful opportunity for the whole community.

"It is the most exciting and positive change in 25 years of innovation in the education system both nationally and locally."

Anne Caines is the longest serving teacher at the school, joining the staff 28 years ago when the campus was not fully built. She said: "I feel like I have done a full circle!

"This time I have been seeing the new academy transformed from a building site into a wonderful new school."

>> Milton Keynes Academy opens to staff on September 1 and to pupils on September 11. It cost nearly 30 million to build.

>> The academy has been welcomed by the community and is over-subscribed with a waiting list for the first year's intake. All the students and staff of Sir Frank Markham Community School have been offered the chance to transfer to the new academy.