"Mrs Smith, HRH the Duke of Gloucester is coming to Honley on October 17. Can I bring him to your school and will the children do something for him?"

Little did I know as I nodded eagerly to the vicar's request one August Sunday morning how it would affect the life of the school at the start of the year.

No problem what to "do" for him - a reprise of songs and class items from our harvest service in St Mary's Church a week earlier.

What I had not anticipated was the number of visits for security checks, agreement of his timetable and 101 other things that make up a royal visit.

The first of these visits came in mid-September, with a deputation from the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire's office, the West Yorkshire Police, the CID and St Mary's Church. My office was packed; standing room only!

The 20-minute royal visit was planned in meticulous detail. We walked the royal course, anticipated and eliminated problems as we went.

More police visits followed, to determine a safe haven for the duke in the event of an "incident", to check our evacuation procedures and to evaluate the walls if there was a bomb.

The day of the royal visit finally dawned, gloriously sunny. During the morning, the school was swarming with police, uniformed and plain-clothes. Billy, the sniffer dog, was our favourite.

He did not find any suspicious devices - but he quickly found the kitchen and the goodies in the staffroom!

Everywhere was searched - cupboards, drawers, filing cabinets.

Even the locked cupboard containing music for Honley Male Voice Choir was forced open as I did not have a spare key.

Plants and flowers were placed around the hall and entrance. We even rolled out the blue carpet (we didn't have a red one!).

The visit passed in a blur! Introductions were made and curtsies bobbed. The children performed beautifully.

The duke received his mementoes, spoke to the all the children, signed the visitor's book and moved on.

A week later, a letter arrived, postmarked Buckingham Palace. My OBE perhaps? No - a hand-written letter from the Duke of Gloucester's equerry, thanking us for making the visit such a success.

Now we can settle down to real school life again!


Pride in our health

WE are very proud of our health and sporting achievements, and as a school are committed to promoting the benefits of physical activity.

We have been awarded the Activemark award by Sport England, for providing an environment which encourages physical activity, offering a broad and balanced physical education programme and teaching children the importance of staying active.

We have strong sporting links with the community and feel very privileged to work with Underbank Rugby League Club, Thongsbridge Tennis Club, Huddersfield Town and Huddersfield Giants.

In the summer of 2002 we were awarded the Kirklees Healthy School Standard.

We have introduced fruit at morning break and fresh drinking water is available all day. A paper recycling scheme has proved very successful with both children and staff.

A school council has been formed. It is a group of children and adults who meet to try to discover ways of making our school a better place.

We meet every few weeks at lunchtime. We keep minutes of our discussions and report back to our classes after the meetings.

Over the last year we have helped to introduce healthy snacks at playtimes and had the idea of letting children bring drinking water to school each day.

Our ideas for improving the toilets were used by Mrs Smith, our head teacher, when the new toilets were fitted over the last summer holiday.


Artists make their mark

WE were delighted to learn we had been awarded an Arts Council Artsmark in May.

This was the culmination of a year's work, refining the arts curriculum and introducing outside arts agencies to work with the children.

The award is a national one and this year 203 schools achieved an Artsmark, 298 Artsmark Silver and 207 Artsmark Gold.

We are proud of the award, as it is a difficult status to achieve in an infant and nursery setting. Most schools gaining silver and gold are junior, middle and high schools.

The award recognises schools that demonstrate a commitment to providing opportunities across the art forms, from drama to music, design to literature and dance to sculpture.

The scheme also encourages schools to work in partnership with artists and organisations.

We celebrated the award with an art exhibition opened by Holmfirth artist Ashley Jackson, where every child in the school had work displayed.

This event was a huge success and we would like to thank all the parents for coming along.

Plans for the new school year involve the presentation of a weaving to St Mary's Church.


Poetic pupils

ACROSTIC poems by Year 2 children


Autumn is rainy, clouds are all grey

Umbrellas up or you'll be wet all day

Tackle that rain and it will go away

Under the rocks the leaves have all changed. The colours are changing, what is that I say?

Mums and dads say put coats on, but we don't want to so don't put them on

Nuts are being buried by all those hungry squirrels

By Hannah Phillips, aged 6

* * * *

All the leaves are dropping

Up the tree squirrels climb

The plants are dying

Up go the umbrellas

Most of the leaves are on the floor

Numbers of leaves are dead

By Joshua Schoolar, aged 6