Top award for Smithdon High School

Top award for Smithdon High School
Head of English, Amanda Wright (left) and head of school, Amanda Gibbins inside the award-winning computer suite at Smithdon High School.

There have been further celebrations at a West Norfolk secondary school after it scooped a prestigious award for a major project to redesign its library.

Smithdon High School took the top spot in this year’s Education Business Awards for the ICT Facility category after the refurbishment impressed judges. Celebrity presenter Jeff Brazier made the announcement at a virtual ceremony that staff were able to watch online.

The award is made to a school in England which has made outstanding progress in the provision of a first class environment for the teaching of ICT and related subjects - and this year it was given to the Hunstanton school, a member of the 11-strong West Norfolk Academies Trust.

This award comes after Smithdon was named as one of 50 schools in the country to receive a multi-million pound investment to be rebuilt.

“This is more good news for our school and comes as we are celebrating the fact that we are now on the list of schools in-line for the government’s building programme. We have a great deal to look forward to,” said head teacher John Hirst.

"We knew how much difference our programme of work this year has made to the school and this affirms that we did exactly the right thing for our students. Winning an Education Business Award is very tough, and we are all very proud of the achievement,” added Mr Hirst.

The Smithdon ICT suite was completely revamped during lockdown as part of a major £1m improvement project already under way which saw new classrooms, windows and roofing among other things.

WEB computer suite

“We completed a significant makeover of our library while there were fewer people in the school. The project was planned for the summer, but we were able to complete it much earlier and our students have been using the new-look facility,” said Amanda Gibbins, head of school.

The library now includes capacity for one-to-one learning, room for an entire class, a quiet area for reading and it also contains the school’s fifth computer suite.

“It’s very much future-proofed and we have been looking beyond the pandemic and reconfiguring our spaces to enhance the experience of our students and ensure our school is well-equipped for new demands and challenges,” added Mrs Gibbins.

The programme of improvements also included a major refurbishment of the sports hall at the school which is seeing increasing numbers on its roll and growing demand for places.