PRIMARY schools in York have been getting into the Jubilee spirit early.

At Dringhouses Primary School, youngsters celebrated the Queen’s 60 years on the throne in a “quintessentially British fashion” yesterday – with a maypole dance, patriotic songs, and a street party lunch.

Head teacher Julia Elliott said the maypole had been discovered during a Jubilee “clean-up party” on Saturday, May 19.

Parents and members of staff had joined forces to give the school grounds a once over ready for the Jubilee celebrations – and found the rusting maypole in a storage shed.

“We felt it would be the perfect addition to the traditional Jubilee celebrations already being planned,” she said. “The top of the maypole even forms the shape of a crown.”

Following a lick of paint it was as good as new, she said – and, adorned with red, white and blue ribbons donated by Gillies Fabrics of Peter Lane, was the centrepiece of yesterday’s celebrations.

At Woodthorpe School, meanwhile, reception and playgroup children with the Woodthorpe Community Partnership enjoyed a day of Jubilee celebrations before breaking up for half term.

The children dressed up as kings and queens for an indoor party, including entertainment and storytelling, and then went outside for a Jubilee cake, a toast to the Queen – and to be presented with a Jubilee mug.

The children have been learning about kings and queens since the Queen visited York earlier this year to hand out Maundy money, said childminder Sue Gabbatiss, and the party was the ideal way to prepare for the half term. “The children were very excited.”

At Poppleton Ousebank Primary School, yesterday’s Jubilee Lunch was just the beginning of a series of events to mark the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.

School cooks prepared a “feast fit for a Queen” for the outdoor lunch, said head teacher Estelle O’Hara. And there was also a performance from the school’s parade group – complete with flags, pompoms and ribbons.

Today is kite day, with the children flying red, white and blue box kites they have made especially. And then on Monday, the children will be taking part in a Jubilee Parade, starting at Poppleton Football Club at 11am and finishing at the village green in time for Maypole dancing and the start of the Poppleton Children’s Sports Day.

By spreading the celebrations over several days, the aim was to really give the children something to remember, Mrs O’Hara said. “We want this to be an occasion that the children will look back on in the future and say ‘I remember when Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Diamond Jubilee.”