Wearside Echoes: It’s back to school time for former Monkwearmouth pupils

SPORTING STARS:  1970 Girls Athletic Champions - Monkwearmouth School

SPORTING STARS: 1970 Girls Athletic Champions - Monkwearmouth School

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FORMER pupils of a school which launched a new era of education on Wearside are invited to chalk up its success in style.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Monkwearmouth School’s move from Swan Street to Seaburn and a grand reunion is planned.

“Anyone with Monkwearmouth connections is invited and there has been lots of interest already,” said former PE and geography teacher Adam Walter.

“I’m planning to put on a display of old photographs during the event, which should bring back many happy memories for those who come along.”

Monkwearmouth first opened its doors as a Central School during the 1930s, offering specialist lessons to youngsters hoping to enter clerical professions.

Post-war educational changes saw it become a grammar school in 1949 but, just a few years later, Monkwearmouth was earmarked as Sunderland’s first comprehensive.

Education officials lavished £275,000 on building a new base at Torver Crescent, Seaburn Dene and, on February 6, 1962, the school moved lock, stock and satchel.

It was to take until 1973, however, for the old grammar system to be phased out.

“A provocative design for a provocative type of school – that’s what is going up behind the Seaburn Dene Estate,” the Echo reported just before the move.

The new school – Sunderland’s first purpose–built comprehensive – boasted large playing fields, modern laboratories and high–tech lecture rooms.

“Education must be a weapon of survival to Britain,” George Chetwynd, director of the North East Development Council, told pupils during the official opening ceremony.

“Monkwearmouth School means so much to so many,” said Adam. “A great many of our past pupils have gone on to achieve success in a widely diverse range of careers.”

Indeed, one of those former pupils – GB Olympian and England footballer Jill Scott – has been invited to attend the reunion as the guest of honour.

The event is to be held at the Roker Hotel on October 5 from 7pm. Tickets cost £10, including an Indian meal, and are available from the school.

“This is a chance to get together, reminisce and re-new past friendships, as well as add to your happy memories of Monkwearmouth,” added Adam.

** People willing to share their pictures, memories and memorabilia of Monkwearmouth can email the school at 50years@monkwearmouth.sunderland.sch.uk.