Hetton School opens its doors for a last look round before it's replaced

It's all change in Hetton where the multi-million new school is on the way.

Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 1:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 2:23 pm
Who remembers these faces?

So it’s time to take a look back at the current Hetton School which opened on September 4, 1967, and shaped thousands of youngsters.

Today we recall some of the highlights, people and events which shaped its history.

The KS3 Technology Food Study Class. Were you part of it and in which year?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

As the 49-year-old school comes to the end of its lifespan, people are being invited to take one last look around.

Guided tours of the North Road site will be held from 5pm to 7pm on Thursday, June 23.

“Come and have a look round the old site,” said Julie Chalk, whose is the school’s preparation for adult life specialist.

“We would like to appeal to former pupils and staff - anyone who has had any connection to the school - to come and have a look.”

The KS3 Technology Food Study Class. Were you part of it and in which year?

The poignant occasion also features a show, on the same day, called Music Through The Decades.

Tickets costing £3.50 are available from the school reception.

Julie is the person who helps students with careers advice and with getting into college and university.

But for this one occasion, she would love to see them all return and meet up to reflect on great times gone by.

“The school is being rebuilt and it will be ready to move into in September,” she said. “It is our last time to look round, to have a last look by having guided tours.”

For those who do come along, there’s plenty to take in as this is a school with an abundance of history.

It was itself a new building in 1967 - built as a successor to Hetton Lyons Council Modern School which was officially opened in June 1912.

Its new 1967 entity began with 232 pupils and Geoff Orr as the headteacher.

Highlights aplenty soon followed.

The school would close for Houghton Feast and in 1970, the visit to the LEA outdoor centre was girls only.

In the same era, the school brought in copying machines and gave out rubella injections.

A house system was introduced in 1973 and the next year, pupils numbers went up to 410. The school was re-organised before the second stage of new buildings could begin. It would see numbers rise to 750-800 pupils.

Subjects included needlework, art, metalwork, as well as the more traditional English, maths, biology, history and geography.

The same year, Hetton School had become part of the Sunderland Education Authority.

By 1975, Hetton School was formed as by the closure of Easington Lane and Eppleton, leaving one school of 807 students and 46 staff.

By 1978, the numbers were up to 875.

And the talents of students were obvious. When Coun Lumley visited that year, he was presented with a fruit bowl made by the craft department pupils, as well as honey and mead produced from bee-keeping activities at the school.

In 1980, the school was extended to add a sports hall, music room and science laboratories.

By 1982, pupil numbers were up to 922. A year later, the headteacher Geoff Orr retired and was replaced Ken Stitt.

Only three more people - Richard Horn, Steve Hague and Phil Keay - have held the title.

There have been plenty of well known faces who can claim to be old boys - and women.

They include Steph Houghton, captain of the England women’s national football team, Durham cricketer Ryan Pringle, and professional footballer Jordan Cook.

The North Road school was one of 261 which the Government announced in 2012 needed to be rebuilt.

But before it moves on to another new chapter, there’s a chance for people to reflect on the past.

Join in the guided tours or the summer show.

To find out more about the last look at the old school, contact (0191) 5536756.

And to share your memories with us, email [email protected]