“LAST of the old Dorset schools is replaced,” ran the Echo headline in September 1968, as the town prepared for the opening of Kingsleigh Junior.

The town was spending a lot of money on replacing and modernising its schools.

In North Bournemouth, the old East Howe Junior School on Kinson Road, built in 1911, was being replaced by a new premises on Hadow Road costing £117,000 and accommodating 480 pupils.

“Among the features of its 12 classrooms are that each has an area set aside for practical work. One classroom is fitted with a pottery kiln,” the Echo reported.

“The new school also includes a kitchen catering for up to 400 in which is fitted a new type of kitchen equipment of standardised design intended specially for local authority use.”

The paper added: “The new school completes a ‘school complex’ in Hadow Road; on the opposite side of the road are an infants’ school and Kingsleigh School, a mixed secondary school.”

On March 14, 1969, the Echo reported on the opening of the school. Alderman Bessie Bicknell, chairman of Bournemouth’s education committee, said the borough’s expenditure on education would be £5.25million in the coming year.

Since 1953, the town had opened 11 schools, she said, as well as creating a new Malmesbury Park Infant and Junior out of the old Boscombe Secondary School.

Westbourne Special School had been housed in the former Westbourne Primary; St Mark’s and St Michael’s CE Schools and Bournemouth School had been extended; and work to build the new Avonbourne Girls School was getting on “very nicely”. The borough had also opened a Marine Training School, a Drama Centre and Leeson House in Swanage.

And Ald Bicknell said educational achievement had grown with the spending.

She paid tribute to the new school’s head teacher, LH Wheeler, who had already given 37 years’ service to the local authority, and had been head of East Howe Junior since 1952. His deputy, Miss ME Dibden, was retiring that school year.

The mayor, Alderman Michael Green, officially handed over the school to the education committee, declaring: “It is indeed a school in in which Bournemouth can justifiably be proud.”

Kingsleigh Junior existed 2003, when it was merged with the neighbouring Kingsleigh First and Nursery to make Kingsleigh Primary. Jan Collins, headteacher of Kingsleigh First and Nursery, became the head of the new combined school.

The 50th anniversary of the junior school’s opening was celebrated last week, with pupils and parents gathering to look at how the world had changed since March 1969.

Bournemouth University history students Jimmie Lydon, Elena Bailey, Glenn Ford and Ollie Dickin have been busy digitising the school’s collection of photographs from across the decades. Their online archive will be available to pupils and parents later this year.

Its headteacher, Richard Gower, said: “The school won’t stop developing as we strive every day to make it better, and I for one am excited to see what the next 50 years will bring.”