Laxton Junior School celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala picnic on the May Bank Holiday. The event gathered past and present pupils, staff and parents on the school fields, accompanied by musical entertainment by current pupils and alumni at Oundle School. Former Headteachers Mr Mark Potter and Mr Sam Robertson returned to School and joined Mrs Lydia Waller to share stories of how LJS has flourished over the past half-century.

Founded in September 1973 as an integral part of Oundle School, LJS has educated children aged 4-11 for over fifty years. There are now a number of parents with children at the school who were once pupils themselves.

A highlight of the celebrations was a whole school exhibition of portraiture at the Yarrow Gallery that was reflective of its happy, close-knit community.

Pupils spent months investigating the various ways portraiture is used to depict individuals, groups and historical periods. They studied artists known for their distinct style and drew inspiration to create their own portraits in a diverse range of displays.

One class experimented with the matchstick figures made famous by Lowry, while another class used flora and fauna motifs from Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits. George Seurat’s pointillism was deployed with exacting technique. Use of mixed media was inspired by Chris Ofili’s dung paintings.

There was a lot of experimentation with media and technique from collage to etching. Inspire Pro on iPads, stylus drawing, computer generated cartoons and a studio photography set-up introduced pupils to the creative potential of technology tools.

Historical portraits were analysed for their hidden symbolism, and for the way they documented and shaped our understanding of history. Pupils had fun transposing themselves into famous Tudor paintings.

And harking back to the era when Laxton Junior School was founded, pupils recreated the funky vibes of the 1970s, complete with bell-bottoms, psychedelia and disco balls. Those were the days!