Few and far between are the schools which mark their foundation with a week of celebrations. Saint Martin’s School is one such establishment, hosting numerous events on the week of our birthday in honour of our founders. Miss Christine Tucker and Miss Zelie Bull embodied the British spirit by opening a school for girls in 1941 in the midst of the Second World War. From humble beginnings, Saint Martin’s School has gone on to become one of the top of its kind in the country; we pride ourselves not only on our academic prowess, but our all-round education.
Staff, parents and pupils came together to mark our 76th birthday in the usual way, with an anniversary prize giving, service of celebration and thanksgiving at St Alphege Church, a birthday lunch and a Commemoration ball.
Each year we hold our annual Prize Giving for girls in Years 10 to Sixth Form and invite a guest speaker, often a Saint Martin’s ‘Old Girl’, someone who has gone on to achieve great things since leaving the School. This year’s special guest was Rachel Orton, now a senior manager at Ernst and Young, who has had a rich and varied working career including nursing at Great Ormond Street Hospital, a malnutrition clinic in Ghana and Boston Children’s Hospital. She had previously spoken to, and inspired, the girls during a Careers event and was a hugely popular choice as special guest.
Prize Giving was followed by the School’s annual service of celebration and thanksgiving at St Alphege Church where thanks is paid to our founders and a wreath is laid at the memorial stone of Miss Tucker and Miss Bull in the churchyard. Tributes to the two remarkable women were read out by pupils during the service. A celebration lunch followed the service back at school before pupils and staff enjoyed a day off to mark the School’s official birthday.
And the week’s celebrations were completed by a Commemoration Ball at Nuthurst Grange for Year 11 and Sixth Formers and their parents and staff, kindly organised by the Parents’ Association.
Mrs Nicola Smillie, Head said Commemoration Week was a vitally important part of the Saint Martin’s annual calendar.
She added: “History and tradition are what have made our school the wonderful place it is today. While we always look to the future, keeping our past and those who made it at the forefront of our minds allows us to maintain the Saint Martin’s ethos for future generations. Paying tribute to our founders is very special for us, Miss Tucker and Miss Bull were inspirational women who, in the middle of the Second World War, set up a school to nurture the future of Solihull’s young women. Their gumption and determination in the face of adversity is one of the best examples we can give to our current pupils to set them off on their journey of life. Truly inspirational.”