On the crest of a wave

By attending Classics Association lectures at AKS, I have been learning more about the Ancient Greeks and Romans. It is reported that they widely used individual insignia on their shields, which developed into coats of arms. These came into general use by feudal lords and knights in the 12th century, used for identification, particularly on the battlefield when armour hid the face. Later these symbols were adopted by families, proud of their lineage. Heraldic traditions moved on as a coat of arms was transmitted through generations of a family, descendants frequently adding differences to symbolise changes in character. Educational organisations followed military ones in the use of these symbols, often referring to them as shields or crests, which along with mottos are usually part of the picture. Thus coats of arms evolved over time.

The legacy schools of AKS all had their own coats of arms, often referred to as school crests. Founded in 1896, Arnold School was the oldest of the three, with three red roses between wedges of Arnold green, flanked by laurel leaves and standing on blue waves (for Blackpool). The motto reads ‘honour is the reward of virtue’. King Edward VII School was founded in 1908, the school crest represents Excalibur held by a hand rising from the sea, with the motto ‘rising from the waves’. This possibly referenced the storm floods in 1719 which led to the establishment of The Lytham Schools Foundation, the blue colours of the school linked to the water. The most recent, Queen Mary School, was founded in 1930. The crest shows a marigold, which apparently grew abundantly on the site of the school (also possibly a pun on the word Mary) and a shell representing the seaside position. This gave the traditional orange/brown colour. The motto read ‘always prepared, always faithful’.

After the initial merger, the King Edward and Queen Mary crests were joined on one shield for KEQMS. When I arrived at AKS, following the merger with Arnold, I understood that there was still a creative job to be done to combine the crests of all foundation schools. Time to reflect has been helpful in this process and our new crest for AKS Lytham is the result of careful consideration and design by our school leadership team and members of our Local Governing Body. We have chosen the distinctive colours of burgundy and silver to recognise AKS Lytham, the next chapter in the schools’ distinguished history and we believe that our new crest successfully acknowledges our past as well as our present and our future.

But let’s not lose sight of the what really matters in terms of how a school presents itself. Whilst we honour our history, it is not about age. Nor symbolism, nor colour. However we celebrate the past, it is our ambition, innovation and determination that will lead to the ongoing badge of quality. AKS will be judged on the personal and academic development of individuals today and tomorrow. Our focus, as always, is on our current students, who are achieving so much.

M H P Walton