Bulldoze school says head

A Norfolk headteacher is urging the county council to bulldoze ageing buildings at his school and replace them with a new classroom block. Diss High School was originally built in 1955 to accommodate 600 children.

A Norfolk headteacher is urging the county council to bulldoze ageing buildings at his school and replace them with a new classroom block.

Diss High School was originally built in 1955 to accommodate 600 children. It now has 1,200 students and pupil numbers are continuing to grow.

But headteacher Stuart Ballantyne is not impressed with the education authority's plan to bring in a mobile science classroom to provide additional space, describing it as a “drop in the ocean.”

“We have got our biggest sixth form and with anticipation that housing is on the increase in Diss, we are really going to need a new teaching block,” he said. “The school is over 50 years old. It is shabby and it is sound, but I want more than sound for the children here. I would like some architectural improvements fit for the 21st century.

“I have been here for 18 years and we have had four or five new classrooms over the years, but the core of the school is classic 1950s bog standard. It needs bulldozing, and if it wasn't for the fact that south Norfolk children are very biddable and pleasant, this school would be in a frightful state.”

The school already has half a dozen mobile buildings that are hot in summer and cold in winter, but hopes have been dashed of the much-needed improvements being carried out this year.

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Chris Hey, head of planning in children's services for Norfolk County Council, said: “We are aware that Diss High School is seeking expansion of its buildings to cater for increased numbers, and we are working with the school on the options for future development. We have carried out a feasibility study and will be looking at this in detail in Autumn 2007 when considering the capital programme beyond 2008.”