From dressing up in clothes inspired by the era to lessons spent rote learning, students at Dashwood Academy enjoyed taking a step back in time to the Victorian era.

The 19th century theme day was designed to officially start the countdown to Dashwood’s 120th anniversary celebrations which was held last month (March).

The school first opened in 1902 in Dashwood Road and is one of the oldest primary schools in the area.

Dashwood Academy Banbury: Front row from the left: Joanne Taylor, Dawid Czarnota, Rosie Pettinger, Nikita Wakelin, Fatima Fahad and Ayan Hussain

The Victorian dress up day saw female students attend school wearing bonnets, bustles and petticoats while their male peers opted for top hats, waistcoats and suits cut to reflect 19th century trends.

Amy Rogers, principal at Dashwood Academy, told the Banbury Guardian: “Our Victorian day was great fun for students and staff. Lessons were held in the style they would have been organised in 1902 when Dashwood first opened: Some had lessons where they used chalk to write, some completed drills (the Victorian term for physical exercise), others did rote learning around their times tables.

“Lessons were also split into single sex groups. It was a great experience for the students and an opportunity for them to immerse themselves into that era ahead of our 120th anniversary celebrations.’’

Dashwood Academy teachers: Catherine Harding, Matthew Bennett and Joanne Taylor

The party was hosted at the school’s present site in Merton Street by Mrs Rogers.

The aim was to turn the school into a ‘mini museum’ with activity rooms, a range of displays and the opportunity to meet former principals at the school and ex-teachers. Any money raised through a raffle or tombola went to school funds.

Generations of Banbury families have sent their children to the school and Mrs Rogers said she and her staff are keen to reconnect with past pupils. They are also seeking old photographs of school life and any sporting medals, report cards or other memorabilia which can be used to put together displays.

From left to right: Dashwood Academy students: Lyall Mabon and Laurie Stevenson