Lockdown brings new library for Norfolk school

Head of English, Amanda Wright and head of School, Amanda Gibbins inside the new computer suite at S

Head of English, Amanda Wright (left) and head of school, Amanda Gibbins inside the new computer suite at Smithdon High School - Credit: Ian Burt

Students will return from lockdown to find a new library at a Norfolk secondary school.

The makeover is the latest phase of a £1m facelift for Smithdon High, in Hunstanton, which has already seen new classrooms, roofing and windows, along with a major refurbishment of the sports hall.

Amanda Wright, Smithdon's head of English, said: "The library is the heart of the English department, we use it all the time and the computer suite will make life so much easier when we are using our accelerated reader programme."

Head of school Amanda Gibbins, said: "We constantly evaluate what we are doing at Smithdon and how we could use our resources more effectively and efficiently. This is now a great multi-functional space, we just can't wait to get the students back in and using it."

Smithdon High School's distinctive frontage after refurbishment work Picture: Ian Burt

Smithdon High School at Hunstanton has undergone a £1m refurbishment during lockdown - Credit: Ian Burt

Head teacher John Hirst said: “We always look for positives in anything, even school closure. With many fewer children in school, it has meant that some of the things we had planned for the summer we can get done now.

“We will be out of this pandemic at some point in the near future and we want to ensure that we are best equipped to educate the future generations of children in the area.

"What we are really trying to do is look beyond the pandemic and reconfigure and imagine spaces in different ways to enhance the students' experience and ensure that Smithdon is well equipped for the new demands and challenges it faces over the next few years."

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Smithdon, which is famed for its striking post-war architectural design, is a member of the 11-school West Norfolk Academies Trust.

The library redesign includes capacity for one-to-one learning, space for a full class, a quiet reading area, and the school’s fifth computer suite, with room for an entire class of students.

With demand for places growing, Mr Hirst said he hoped the on-going redevelopment of the site on Downs Road would make Smithdon High an even more popular choice for families.

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