St Albans school celebrates expansion and showcases Roman ruins
PUBLISHED: 12:38 11 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:58 11 December 2018
A primary school in St Albans which is the site of important archaeological discoveries held an open day to celebrate its newfound historical significance.
Archaeologists discovered Roman coins, pottery fragments and ruins underneath St Michael’s C of E School in March. The finds included the corner of the main facade of a basilica, dating from 79AD, a late Roman portico, six Roman coins, the handle of an amphora (Roman vase) and a tile showing the paw print of a Roman dog.
St Michael’s held an open morning to celebrate both the archaeological finds and their recent expansion. The school, which currently has five classrooms with split year groups, has expanded to include two new classrooms so it can become a one-form entry primary school from September 2019.
There is also a special carpet to mark the location of the basilica and portico and a viewing hatch for pupils to see the history beneath their feet.
Parents, prospective parents, friends and neighbours were shown the new classrooms and pupils and staff demonstrated areas of the curriculum at work.
A service of celebration and thanksgiving was also held on Thursday, November 27 at St Michael’s Church. The school community gave thanks to everybody who had been involved in the building project, including the architects, the diocese, St Albans council and the builders.
The Right Revd Dr Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans, helped lead the service alongside the Revd Kenneth Padley fo St Michael’s. The children thanked those involved in the expansion by giving them handmade thank you cards and placing pieces of the school jigsaw to represent the coming together of all parts of the project.
Headteacher Alison Rafferty said: “Our school has been completely transformed. We have been able to retain the village school atmosphere, rooted in tradition and history, while providing an enriched curriculum in modern educational facilities.”
The archaeological dig at the school was led by James Fairbairn from Oxford Archaeology, and added to the information already known about the site from a previous dig in 1955, which unveiled fragments now on display at Verulamium Museum.