What's a Royal visit after headlice?

6th March 1998 at 00:00
It was meant to be a hypothetical question. How would the new headteacher of St Aidan's primary school deal with, for example, a plague of headlice? A pregnant teacher? A visit from the Queen?

But within months of her interview for the post at the north London primary, new head Jill Bierschenk was confronted by all three.

Last week the children at St Aidan's welcomed the Queen to re-open their school which was burnt down two years ago.

It was Her Majesty's second visit to the school. She re-opened it in 1972 after it had to be rebuilt - that time because of structural damage caused by wartime bombs.

"I was amazed when the Queen replied to my invitation to come to the school. She has a very busy schedule and we're a tiny primary but we've been through a lot," said Ms Bierschenk.

Her Majesty was treated to a concert in the new school hall and bombarded by 200 children wanting to present her with cards.

Later the Queen got right down to it in the reception class where she and the children were enjoying each other's company so much she could hardly tear herself away.

Said Ms Bierschenk: "The children spoke to the Queen very spontaneously and she was very complimentary about their drawings.

"They showed her how to assemble a torch and make it work and she said to me: 'I always think it's remarkable when the batteries go in the right way'.

"She then saw the Royal website and had tea with the governors where they looked at photos of her first visit 26 years ago.

"Her Majesty quipped that the hat she wore that day was made of real fur unlike the ones she wears these days. She told me she didn't think our school looked like a typical school because of the displays and the clean carpet but wondered how long that could last.

"It was a truly brilliant day, full of occasion and excitement. I told the children it was an historic day but I'm not sure they all really knew who she was."

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