The sound of building work was reverberating through St James’ Junior School in Barrow in 1997.

The work at the Victorian school building would provide an extra classroom, an improved lay-out, a second entranceway and new toilet facilities.

The project went ahead after discussions with the Department for Education and Employment in London to secure the £70,000 needed to fund the work.

Head teacher Angela Rawlinson said: “What we’re trying to do is re-design the school to meet the needs of the present day and the national curriculum.”

The next project for the school was to be the establishment of a library, for which it was hoped to attract money from the Government fund for school improvements and from the local business community.

Teachers were also putting on extra provision for pupils, with music and foreign language sessions.

In October 2005 Miss Rawlinson was named national primary headteacher of the year.

She beat 142 local winners to win the Promethean Award, at the Teaching Awards 2005.

The award recognised the work required both in and outside the classroom to nurture an environment in which a school could grow.

The trophy was presented by M-People singer Heather Small, when she paid a surprise visit to St James’ CE Junior School.

The lyrics of heather Small’s song Proud had been used to inspire the children and were written throughout the school to remind them: “What have you done today to make you feel proud?”

Miss Rawlinson’s achievements were beamed into the homes of millions if people after the Teaching Awards were shown on BBC 2.

She said: “In our achievement assembly we sing Heather Small’s song. That’s a major factor throughout the school. We have the words of the song written on the wall.”

Miss Rawlinson had arrived at the school in 1997 and since then it had achieved Beacon status.