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Smithdon High School - a brief history

Hunstanton Secondary School was officially opened on the 17th of March 1955, but started to teach students in September 1954.  The original roll was 439 pupils and 18 staff. Prior to this, all children in the locality remained at their village school.

The school was designed by Peter and Alison Smithson and constructed almost entirely of glass and steel.  It was the first example of ‘Brutalist Architecture’. It is now a Grade II* listed building and cannot, therefore, be added to or altered in any way without the approval of English Heritage. See an article (‘Lives remembered’) following the obituary in the Times of Peter Smithson, (March 10th 2003). See also ‘From Here to Modernity’ presented by Kirsty Wark, BBC 2 December 2001.

It was a Secondary Modern School until 1979 when under the county scheme to reorganise Grammar and Secondary Modern Schools it became a Comprehensive. The name Smithdon High School was proposed by Mr J T A Shorten (former Geography teacher). The catchment area is roughly the same as the former Smithdon Hundred an ancient area of land covering a group of towns and villages.

Also at this time Primary Schools were reorganised into First (4-8) and Middle (8-12) schools. Many small village Primary Schools were closed and three Middle Schools were created.  Between 1980 and 2004 there was a dual-year intake; pupils from the remaining village Primary Schools transferred in Year 7, those from the Middle schools in Year 8.

An Art block was added in the 1960’s and a new classroom block and a Learning Resource Centre was built in 2000 to replace 16 mobile classrooms and was officially opened by HM the Queen on January 31st 2001.  A new Design Technology block was officially opened on June 29th 2005 when the former Design Technology block was renovated for the Mathematics department.  The most recent addition is the ICT suite, following the granting of Specialist School Status for Mathematics and ICT in July 2004.

In September 2004 Smithdon began its second 50 years with the re-organisation of Primary Schools in the Hunstanton area, admitting all students from 11 years of age, bringing its roll around 1150 but still accommodated in the main hall which was built for less than 500 students!

The current school population is 678 students and 96 staff (51 of whom are teachers).

If you are an architectural student (or similar) wishing to visit the school, please download the following documents:

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