Sunderland High School Explained
Sunderland High School is a junior school and senior school in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England.
The school lays stress on the creation of a Christian atmosphere. The school welcomes pupils of all faiths or none. The curriculum is broad and, from Year 10, is built around pupil choice. Examination results, as published by the Department for Education and Skills, are amongst the best in the area at all levels from Key Stage 1 to GCSE. However, despite being an independent, selective school, average A-Level results in the Sixth Form are 57.3 points, which is below the national average and are below other non fee-paying Sixth Forms and Colleges in the area.
The Senior School, Junior School and Nursery have all gained national quality awards. For example, in March 2006 it was - according to the national awarding body, BECTA - "one of the first schools in the country to achieve the BECTA ICT Mark". The Junior School was the first school in the country to be awarded the Investors in People Leadership and Management Award. The school was praised in the 2005 Independent Schools Inspectorate report, notably for its pastoral care and the quality of its extracurricular provision.
There is a good range of sports and extracurricular activities including the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and Young Enterprise, as well as World Challenge Expeditions - to Madagascar (2000) and Malawi (2003, 2005 and 2007).
The current school results from a merger in 1992 between Sunderland Church High School for Girls and Tonstall School for Boys.
- 1884 - Sunderland Church High School founded
- 1914 - Tonstall School founded
- 1987 - Centenary Building opened on Mowbray Road
- 1992 - Sunderland High School founded from the merger of Sunderland Church High School and Tonstall School
- 1994 - Tonstall House opened by H.R.H. Princess Royal
- 1995 - Floodlit all-weather pitch opened
- 1996 - Carlton House Sixth Form Centre opened
- 1998 - The development programme for the future expansion of Sunderland High School continues with the acquisition of Sunderland University Buildings
- 2000 - Clifton Hall opened
- 2002 - 10th Anniversary Celebration Year
- 2006 - Langham Tower opened by Kate Adie
- 2010 - The set opening for the new Main School site.
The senior school comprises four main buildings including Main School, the original building, which is showing signs of age. There is a sixth-form centre in its own grounds. The purpose-built junior school is close by. Pupils from all parts of the school share the sports facilities which include a sports hall and all-weather pitch.
In 2006 the school took over Langham Tower from Sunderland University with the aim of concentrating buildings onto one main school area. This was confirmed in early 2007 to the student body and staff, plans are currently in discussion. The site currently holds the main buildings, Carlton House and Langham Tower. The new site is set to be complete by 2010 and will consist of renovated Main School (with all out-building removed so just the original structure stands), a renovated Carlton House, a new sports department (with a playing field, indoor sports hall and possibly a swimming pool), brand new Design and Food Technology department's (the existing building will be removed so that the new building can be built in its place), a new canteen and all the classrooms from the current Centenary building (science labs, geography room, business studies department and main ICT facilities) and Clifton Hall (Drama and Music departments and year 7 and 8 form rooms). The Centenary building and Clifton Hall will be sold off making the senior school one large site, this will make the whole school a safer and more comfortable place to work and learn.
- Main School - Purpose built in 1886-8, has all of the old features of the time, now houses a large main hall, form rooms, the art room at the top floor and main entrance to the school. It is reasonably well maintained, although the use of this building is slowly being transferred to the newer ones. This site also houses the Design and Technology and the Food Technology departments as well as a canteen. In need of renovation, with the assembly hall roof leaking, and other rooms inside the building in heavily damaged states.
- Carlton House - The oldest of all the buildings, but currently the least used. Formerly Nicholson House, built in 1851 for William Nicholson, who ran a highly successful copper and ships’ metalware business, the main school and Langham tower were both built in the grounds of this building. It was once beautiful, but now it is a little disappointing. It houses the 6th form common room and 6th form ICT facilities. It boasts a grand staircase but little else. Once a large house, most of the building is now unused.
- Centenary building - Built for the school's centenary (1987), it now houses the science labs, reasonably well equipped and of suitable size. Also situated there is the business studies department, main ICT facilities and a Geography class room. This building is unusual from the outside, shaped in a large arch, with a road leading to the car park.
- Clifton Hall - Originally two pairs of semi-detached villas, joined together in a conversion to training college in a design by the local authority’s education architect Oliver Hall Mark in 1933. It had teaching facilities on the ground floor and residential accommodation above. When the school bought this building in 2000, the First floor was totally redesigned. The Basement and Second floors are currently out of bounds and unused. The second floor, in fact is still separated into dorm rooms, some still complete with wardrobes, sinks and period carpet. The first floor now accommodates Year 7 and 8 form rooms, and the ground floor holds music and drama facilities. This site also encompasses the nearby Bede gym, formally a university canteen. This has low beams, making it unsuitable for many sports. The changing facilities here are small. Precisely when the original Clifton Villas went up is not known. However, according to research by planner John Tumman, the estate owner Anthony John Moore, solicitor, water company chairman and mayor, who lived next door in Bede Tower from 1852, and, is known to have had grandiose plans for villas there as part of the estate development which included grand terraces like Park Place, St Bede’s Terrace, Douro Terrace, and Mowbray Villas and Carlton Villas. And Clifton Villas were certainly in existence by 1880, when the tenant at No 1 was John Tillman, who with his brother Thomas, designed Sunderland Museum. John Tumman also discovered that, fascinatingly enough in view of its present ownership of villas in the neighbourhood, the Church Schools Company bought Moore’s Italianate home, Bede Tower, for £4,250 in 1885. The University still inhabit this.
- Langham Tower - Most recently acquired by the school and by far the most attractive. Built in the grounds of Carlton House, it boasts a large and beautiful main staircase with large stained glass windows. It was designed by renowned architect William Milburn, built in 1889-1891, for William Adamson, trader in ships' provisions and oil, and son of the well-known shipbuilder who lived in Fawcett Street. Later Langham Tower was occupied by Major Cuthbert Vaux, of Vaux Breweries, and later by Robert Thompson (1850-1908), Shipbuilder. It now houses the languages department, Religious Education, P.E and English media rooms as well as a 6th form study room and a number of offices.
- Junior School - Built a little way from the main school site in 1994 next to the previous building with the same function. This large building now houses the entire Junior school and all of their facilities, with a large assembly hall and a very large sports hall. The Second floor, originally unused has recently been refurbished and some classrooms have been added. The maintenance in this building is very good. The sports hall, sports field and all-weather pitch is shared with the senior school for PE lessons. The sports hall is also used for the annual Speech Day.
- Bede Tower - It is owned by the school, but entirely rented out to the university. The school does, however, use the large auditorium in this building for theatrical productions.
- The Armstrong-James Building - The school has bought it but it still lies unused. It was purpose built by the University in the 1960s. It was destroyed by a suspected arson attack in April 2007, a week after the Verne Jones building, adjacent to the Armstrong-James building and also owned by the school, was damaged by suspected arson.
Notes and References
- Web site: Education League Tables 2006. BBC News. 2007-12-01.
- Web site: Becta Schools - Accredited Schools. BECTA. 2007-12-01.
- Web site: Measure your improvements: Investors in People in schools and colleges. DFES. 2007-12-02.
- Web site: Inspection Report on Sunderland High School. Independent Schools Inspectorate. 2007-11-30.
- Web site: Robert Thompson. 2007-12-01.
- Web site: Arsonists target school building. Sunderland Echo. 2007-12-01.