The write stuff

6th July 2007 at 01:00
(Photograph) - Lollipop man Leon Forbes and reception class pupil Jonnas Oliveira Guerra have booked a place in history. They were both interviewed for The Last School in Lambeth, which charts the 80-year history of Woodmansterne primary in Streatham Vale, south London, writes Nick Hilborne.

Nine- to 11-year-olds at the school have spent the past six months compiling the book, which goes on sale to parents this weekend.

Iffat Fariduddin, the assistant head and project manager, said the children had talked to local people, including Mr Forbes, who used to be a lorry driver, and others who had been among the school's first pupils. The children had also carried out historical research, taken the photographs and written and edited the text. They were helped by the National Literacy Trust.

"The aim of the book was to use writing to bring together the school community, past and present, and capture a great range of memories and experiences," Ms Fariduddin said.

"It allowed the more able children to use their literacy skills and all of them to work together with other year groups."

The children had visited the London Metropolitan Archives in Farringdon to carry out research. They were intrigued by old photographs, particularly those of rows of pre-war pupils practising swimming moves, stretched out on the school hall floor, Ms Fariduddin said.

The school also held workshops where local people came to share their memories with the children.

"It's been a big learning curve for us and taken up a lot of time, but I think the end result is incredible," Ms Fariduddin said.

The title was inspired by the school's location on the southern edge of the borough.

Photograph: Jacky Chapman

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