STUDENTS and teachers cheered in celebration last week as their village school began to mark 400 years of history.
This month marks Steyning Grammar School’s landmark anniversary that will see a series of exciting events in 2014.
Headteacher Nick Wergan, who took up his new position in September, said: “I don’t think there will be many comprehensive schools that can claim a 400-year pedigree.
“We like to think we have a heritage of excellence but very much a forward-looking school.”
Excitement travelled through the school community after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, sent an endorsement of support.
The celebrations were launched in the parish church of St Andrew and St Cuthman at a candlelit service in December.
The readings and performances by students were representative of each century since 1614.
Head boy of Boarding Tonye Dokubo, 16, said: “I think it’s a massive privilege.
“Not many people can say they’re a part of something like that.
“We have a whole range of activities planned and we’ve got some of the old boys coming back.
“It’s a community event, not just a school event.”
The school will be hosting two further church services later this year.
On May 25, the theme is ‘creation’ and will see the dedication of a handmade quilt to which all sections of the Steyning community have contributed, paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The second service, on July 19, is for the Old Grammarians and will be attended by the Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner.
The school will be holding its reunion day for past students and the public on May 24 at the Church Street site.
Archive material on the school’s 400-year history will be displayed and guided tours of the historic site will be given.
The school grounds will be open for those wishing to picnic and enjoy some of the Steyning Festival entertainment taking place within the grounds.
For further details on all Steyning celebrations in 2014, visit the school’s website at www.sgs.uk.net and the Steyning Festival website at www.steyningfestival.co.uk