Name plague;Diary

2nd April 1999 at 01:00
WAR, pestilence and plague - yes, Kent's newest school is getting off to a flying start. When the county decided to close neighbouring Greystones and Riverside special schools in Ashford and open a fresh school on the site on April 1, it could have expected a fight from protective parents trying to save their schools, or from teachers worried about their jobs. Instead the sticking point is ... the name.

Wyvern School is Kent's choice - it's a common name for schools, and they say the mythical creature represents guardianship and protection. Particularly apt for a special school. Unfortunately, Ashford parents wanted to know more. They checked in a dictionary of heraldry and found the creature - a cross between a dragon and a griffin - was also linked to "pestilence and plagues" according to the New Dictionary of Heraldry. Another reference book went further, adding "war, envy and Satan".

Kent head of schools, David Spencer, protests that "the meaning is quite clear - when it is used in heraldry it represents guardianship and protection".

Parents are unconvinced but the Diary takes a different view. Translate "war, pestilence, plague" into Latin and you've got a good motto for any school.

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