AN INDEPENDENT school is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Yarm School opened on September 14, 1978, with 60 boys on the roll for its first academic year.

There are now 1,100 boys and girls and about 250 staff.

The school began when a group of parents formed the Cleveland Independent School Trust and acquired the buildings and grounds of the old Yarm Grammar School site. In 1980 the school acquired and moved into the Friarage, a large house over the road. The school remains on both sites.

Yarm became fully co-educational in 1999, having started out as a boys' school. Former pupils include Olympic rower Kat Copeland, Middlesbrough footballer Ben Gibson and Middlesbrough South MP Simon Clarke.

Neville Tate, the original Headmaster, said: “I remember the first day very well and it was a relief in the sense that all the dreams and plans turned into reality."