A HARLINGTON school has celebrated its 70th anniversary after a colourful history, which includes withstanding Nazi bombing raids during the Blitz.
A magnificent balloon launch was held on Thursday at Cranford Park Primary, in Phelps Way, the first of many events to commemorate the milestone.
When the school first opened in 1939, Britain was gearing up for war against Hitler - and the school was even bombed during the Blitz.
Dr Martin Young, the current head-teacher, said: "There is a fantastic log book at the school, where headteachers in the 1930s and 40s wrote about their experiences of running the school during the war.
"The school itself was bombed at one point, and it was a tough opening to its existence.
"When it opened, there was an infants' school downstairs, and the junior school upstairs, which was how it stayed until amalgamation in 1992."
Today, Cranford Park is one of England's largest primary schools - and one of the most ethnically diverse.
Dr Young said: "There are about 750 pupils. We exist in an incredibly diverse community with pupils from 30 to 40 different countries.
"Up until the 1970s, most of our pupils were from white English backgrounds, but around that time, the Sikh community began to move from nearby Southall into Hayes, and now we have up to 90 per cent of our students from minorities, and we are very successful academically."
Seventy children, one representing each year in the school's history, took part in the balloon launch.
Including staff, there were about 800 people on the field. Dr Young added: "It was the first time I have seen a balloon launch. It was quite dramatic.
"We had blue balloons to represent the colour of our uniforms.
"John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington Labour MP) planted a tree and answered questions from pupils about what it is like to be an MP. He was very generous with his time.
"We also have a time capsule, which we plan to bury next week."
Dr Young was a teacher at the school during its 50th anniversary celebrations in 1989, before leaving to take up headteacher posts at two other schools. He returned to see the 60th celebrations in 1999.
On June 23, another celebration will take place, with all surviving former pupils from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s invited to join in the fun.
Staff and children will dress up in wartime clothes on a 'time machine day' where they will 'travel back' to 1939.
Dr Young said: "Teachers will be issued with canes, although they won't be allowed to use them. We hope former pupils will answer questions from the children. We will be happy to give them a tour round.
"If they contact the school on 020 8573 3453 and let us know they would like to come, we will send them an invite."
On June 24, pupils and families are invited to stay late and enjoy a picnic at the school, and there will be an international cake fair.
Then on June 25, staff will perform dances for the children, including samba and Bollywood, and in the evening, staff, governors and former members of staff will convene to enjoy a party.