Sophie, Countess of Wessex was in the Cornish city of Truro this week and visited a school which has seen a remarkable transformation described by the head teacher Matt Middlemore as “Spielberg blockbusting”. The Countess was welcomed by the Lord Lieutenant, Edward Bolitho before Mr Middlemore guided her in a tour around the Tregolls School, including visiting new classrooms and sports pitches which were opened last year as part of a £3 million investment programme. The Countess was also treated to a display of drumming by pupils which she clearly enjoyed.
Mr Middlemore has been credited with taking the school from a perilous position where it was ranked as the fifteenth worse primary school in the country to a place where it is ranked in the top 10% of schools in the country during his six years at the helm. It is strongly rumoured that a recent Ofsted inspection of the school may well result in the school, now with academy status receiving an “outstanding” report. It seems hardly surprising then that in 2016 Matt Middlemore was awarded the accolade as National Headteacher of the Year.
The Countess has always supported causes associated with children, and many know of the valuable work, she and her husband Prince Edward have completed for the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and the support and confidence that has given children. So, the pride that the pupils can take from the success of the Tregolls School is something that she will well understand.
Her trip to Cornwall also included her attendance at the Truro Christmas Primestock and Produce Show AGM at the St Erme Community Centre. The Countess is the President, and this is another success story. The Show began as a small fair held in the cattle market in 1902 and is now a thriving show with many classes for all ages including animal handling, cake baking and several children’s classes. Final visit on the trip around successful Cornwall was Tregassow Farm where operators John and Jennie Keeler have established a reputation as growing the most exquisite Cornish Asparagus.