A Peterborough school where smiles come before sums and celebrities in the city

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
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My school days were the happiest days of my life; which should give you some indication of the misery I’ve endured since.

That’s not my quote but one from that well-known sage and TV personality Paul Merton.

However, if you asked most people who know me to describe me in one word, I don’t think many would choose ‘happy’.

So, I’m not sure how I’d fit in at Fourfields Primary School in Yaxley which has been named the happiest school in the country.

It’s a lovely story – and Fourfields seems to be the school version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

I read the quotes from head teacher Sue Blyth with increasing incredulity – which makes the story all the better.

Does the school really let children plan the direction of their own learning?

Did Sue really say happiness is more important than academic achievement or Ofsted?

And if that’s enough she’s reduced the workload of staff so there’s not a “mountain of marking.’’

Is this really Britain in 2017 where the ABC is Austerity, Brexit and Crime?

And can I have a job, Sue?

Another Peterborough winner at the National Happiness Awards was hypnotherapy firm Inspired To Change which is based in the city centre. This one I can understand. If I was hypnotised I’d be happy too! (Doubt it– Long-suffering Ed).

Silver for Sir Mo

I was disappointed I didn’t bump into Sir Mo Farah when he had a run at Ferry Meadows during a visit to Peterborough.

I reckon there are two types of people in the world. There are those (including me) who if they saw Sir Mo walking down the street would be unable to resist the temptation to run past him with arms outstretched in triumph.

And there are those that wouldn’t.

Write stuff

Another famous face heading to the ‘boro is singer Peter Andre. He, so the PR spiel goes, is signing his new perfume.

How do you sign perfume? With a fountain pen?

Any cash back?

What a great story about city council worker Steve Titman who has got back £20 he left in a cash machine... 10 years ago. The bank even paid him interest of £6.80 (don’t spend it all at once, Steve!)

Hang on, £6.80 after 10 years? I wonder if Steve had borrowed £20 from the bank a decade ago, how much interest they would have charged him?

Having a mayor

I see the mayor of Cambridge (and a few other places), James Palmer, has been keeping himself busy .

He tweeted: “Being interviewed this afternoon for @BBCLookEast about @NatInfraCom report on East-West rail, vital for our two great university cities to be properly connected, the missing piece of the jigsaw to ensure the golden triangle thrives’’.

I read that and thought “what is this golden triangle you talk of?’’

Could it be Peterborough, Cambridge and March?

No it couldn’t of course. The said golden triangle turns out to be Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford.

Meanwhile, Peterborough City Council has got the begging bowl out in the hope their mates in central Government will toss them a bit more cash that might help ease the city’s homeless crisis, and perhaps even get Peterborough off the foot of the education league tables.