Ballerina Marion Tait returned to her former school to open a new exam hall yesterday.

Ms Tait visited Palmers Green High School in Hoppers Road, Palmers Green, to unveil the Elizabeth Smith Hall.

The hall, which has taken more than a year to complete, and will provide an improved space for students to take their exams.

It was the first time prima ballerina Ms Tait, who was made an OBE in 1992 and a CBE in 2003, had visited the school since she left 46 years ago.

She said: “Walking around the school and meeting all the girls and staff I can see that the school has not lost any of its key characteristics which for me was the inspirational teaching and, because of its size, the real sense of intimacy.

“I wish all the girls every success and encourage them to always aim to be the best they possibly can be."

Headteacher Christine Edmundson said: “Everyone from the youngest pupil to the oldest guest greatly enjoyed Ms Tait’s visit.  She was truly inspirational and a wonderful example of success springing from aspiration, dedication and hard work.”

The dancer, who is the assistant director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, has performed in ballets including The Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet.

The hall was named after Elizabeth Smith who was a former pupil and governor of the school until she died in 2007.