For more than 130 years Sunderland High School has held a place in the hearts of Wearsiders and residents have been left shocked by the announcement it is set to close.
Many people in the city will now be wondering what will happen to the school’s buildings when it closes at the end of the academic year.
The senior school has five main buildings in Mowbray Road, including Main School, Centenary Building, Clifton Hall, Carlton House and Langham Tower, most are of historical importance.
And, there is also the junior school in Ashbrooke Road.
A spokesman for United Learning, which runs Sunderland High School, said: “In terms of the buildings, it’s too early to say.”
Founded in 1883 as a girls’ senior school it grew over the years to cater for children from nursery right through to A level.
Former pupils of the school include TV presenter and agony aunt, Denise Robertson, and international journalist, Kate Adie, who returned to the school in 2007 to officially open Langham Tower, which was the latest building bought by the school.
Founded by the then Archdeacon of Sunderland, the Venerable Long, the school opened in Park Terrace, now Toward Road, with just 16 pupils.
The school continued to grow, but remained a girls only school for more than 100 years.
But, things started to change in 1988 when the sixth form started admitting boys for the first time.
In 1992 the girls’ school merged with Tonstall School, a long-established boys’ day school, to form Sunderland High School.
In 1994, The Princess Royal, opened Tonstall House in Ashbrooke Road, for the Junior School, which saw Sunderland High School expand into primary education.
Sunderland High School has continued to shine, gaining many national quality awards and also figuring highly on the list of the country’s top prep schools.
In 2011 the Junior School was judged to be ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted inspectors.
And, just last January, when the school performance league tables were published, Sunderland High School was praised for having the top GCSE and A level results in the city, with 100% of pupils gaining five of more A*-E GCSEs and 94% getting at least three A*-E grade A levels.
Sunderland High School was also one of the first schools in the country to achieve the BECTA ICT Mark and The Junior School was the first school in the country to be awarded the Investors in People Leadership and Management Award.
Other notable former pupils include artist Marjorie Arnfield, cookery writer, Jane Grigson, Lucinda Lambton, writer, photographer, television presenter and producer, and Eileen O’Shaughnessy, poet and wife of the writer George Orwell.