13 primary school hymns that were 100% certified belters

29 January 2021, 15:29

13 primary school hymns that were 100% certified belters
13 primary school hymns that were 100% certified belters. Picture: Shutterstock

From ‘Jerusalem’ to ‘Kumbaya’, these school hymns were the musical anthems of yonder years.

Teachers brought them out at the start of the school week to try and cheer us up, and perk us up they surely did.

All together now, “Good mooorning Missus Jones...”

  1. He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

    An out-and-out belter to start with. This brings back memories of 120 kids squashed together on those wobbly wooden benches, all doing that ‘whole world’ action in unison.

  2. Jerusalem

    This was the one where you’d deafen the person next to you by crying ‘Jerusalem’ with every Pavarotti-shaped bone in your body.

    Just absolutely glorious.

    Read more: ‘Jerusalem’ named the nation’s favourite hymn >

  3. Shine Jesus Shine

    If you were really lucky, you also got taught a bit of choreography with this firecracker.

    Listen really closely, and you can almost hear the squeak of Clarks school shoes shuffling around on that shiny assembly room flooring...

  4. Lord of the Dance

    A real up-tempo number – we can’t promise we remembered all the words, but the chorus was an absolute belter.

    It went: “Dance, then, wherever you may be, I am the Lord of the Dance, said he, And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be, And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he.”

  5. Kumbaya My Lord

    This one was genuinely lovely to sing – and a nice easy one, too.

  6. All Things Bright and Beautiful

    A colourful anthem, heard in every primary and secondary school across the country thanks to the genius of one of today’s greatest choral minds, John Rutter.

  7. From the Tiny Ant

    You remember it... the one where you used to have competitions with the other side of the assembly room over who could belt out ‘snake to the kangaroo’ loudest.

    Those were the days.

  8. When I Needed a Neighbour

    An outright anthem, and one that was unfailingly accompanied by a mass of giggles and elbow nudges at that heartfelt line, “I was cold, I was naked, were you there, were you there?”. Ah, to be twenty-eight years old again.

    Read more: This is the oldest melody in existence and it’s utterly enchanting >

  9. Give Me Oil in My Lamp

    ‘Oil in my Lamp (sing Hosanna)’ was an absolute tune.

    Try singing at the top of your voice on a cold wooden floor in winter, and the memories will come flying back.

  10. When the Saints Go Marching In

    If you refused to do any marching in this one, you were off-the-scale cool.

    (Of course, we now fully condone joining in with embarrassing levels of enthusiasm.)

  11. This Little Light of Mine

    This one was just a pure joy to sing. Plus, it’s literally impossible to lose your place.

    My brain now: go to sleep


  12. Who Put the Colours in the Rainbow

    This one’s bringing back memories of craning our necks to see the words on the old analogue projector.

    Ah, the days before interactive whiteboards...

  13. Cauliflowers are Fluffy

    100% the biggest banger on the list. From that unexpectedly jazzy descent in the chorus to teaching us that broad beans apparently sleep in blankets, ‘Cauliflowers are Fluffy’ was educational AND fun.

    Teachers would always bring this one out at Harvest time, possibly accompanied by an assortment of knobbly old root veg donated by parents (just us?).