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Founding academy celebrates its 300th anniversary

One of York’s biggest primary schools is celebrating its 300th anniversary.

Today is known as Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy, in Strensall, the school was first established as the legacy of local yeoman farmer Robert Wilkinson in 1718. Now it has over 600 pupils aged 3-11 and is the founding school of the Ebor Academy Trust, which has 16 academies throughout the north of England.

A service at York Minster and a summer fair, both in the first week of July, will be among events taking place to mark the anniversary.

“We’ve certainly come a long way since Robert Wilkinson first thought of leaving some land in his will to educate local children,” said Sarah Wright, principal of Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy.

The legacy helped establish what is today known as the Wilkinson, Cobb and Hodgson Trust, a registered charity which supports the Strensall community.

At the Minster service, on Monday 2 July, pupils past and present are invited to celebrate the landmark with staff and former staff. Free tickets will be available soon on the school website at www.robertwilkinson.ebor.academy. Among highlights will be the school choir, orchestra, a poetry reading and the reading of best entries from a competition to write a letter to Robert Wilkinson.

Creating a mosaic of tiles and planting trees will be other activities, which the community can also get involved in, together with a special summer fair on Friday 6 July after school. This will feature refreshments and music and will help raise funds for an amphitheatre play area and outdoor classroom.

“We are also planning to produce a commemorative booklet and some enamel badges, kindly sponsored by Vital York Limited, our education technology providers,” said Mrs Wright.

“If anyone has any memorabilia of photographs of the school over the years, we’d love to see them and perhaps include them in our booklet. People can email us at robertwilkinsonacademy@robwilk.co.uk or call 01904 555160.”