School celebrates official opening of £12million site

Seaham High School's new £12million campus has been officially opened.

Saturday, 21st July 2018, 9:00 am

The school began to welcome students back in September 2016, but the celebration of its new site was held this week as it welcomed its long-time champion, the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Sue Snowdon, to lead the honours.

The former teacher and magistrate toured lessons, took a walk around the grounds and enjoyed a school dinner before she unveiled a plaque at a ceremony, with ice creams served to pupils and games running through the day.

Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham Sue Snowdon opens Seaham High School. As it's headteacher David Shield stands alongside her Picture by FRANK REID

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The school - built as part of a £100million project to replace 12 North East schools - stands in Station Road, on the site of Seaham Colliery. The old site on Burnhall Drive is now earmarked for new houses.

The move saw the school change its name and uniform, with the new complex replacing a 51-year-old crumbling and decaying school, where 11 classroom had been condemned.

Seaham High has 950 students, which is expected to rise to 1,200 by 2020.

It is fittedout with top-class art and technology workshops, a four-court sport hall, a dance studio with a sprung floor and two multi-use games areas.

Seaham High School, after it was opened by the Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham Sue Snowdon . Picture by FRANK REID

Headteacher David Shield said: “While it’s the people inside the building that make our school, it does make a huge difference that our building isn’t falling around us, so we are able to put all our efforts into the quality of education we are delivering to our young people.

“The students chose the new name and they wanted to pay respect to the heritage of the site because it is on the old colliery.

“They also wanted it to be called Seaham High to show the direction they are going and I’m really proud they wanted to commit to the history of the area.”

Mrs Snowdon joined the school as it put on a production of We Will Rock You and also when it marked the 100th anniversary of the truce held during the First World War, when British and German troops came out of their trenches to play football, using the Burnhall Drive’s living history trench instalment for the occasion.

After opening Seaham High School, the Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham Sue Snowdon is presented with flowers by year10 pupil Rhianne High. Picture by FRANK REID

Mr Shield added: “We wanted to make sure we had the right person to open the site and the Lord Lieutenant has been a regular supporter of the school and we really thought there was no one better.”

Also in attendance for the unveiling was High Sheriff of Durham Stephen Cronin, John Lethbridge, chairman of Durham County Council and the Mayor of Durham, the council’s chief executive Terry Collins, Mayor of Seaham Barbara Allen and the school’s chairman of governors David Wilkinson.

Deputy head Geoff Lumsdon has been appointed as the school’s new headteacher and will take over the role from Mr Shield when he retires in December.

Seaham High School Y10 pupil Aaron Hamilton talking over lunch with the Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham Sue Snowdon Picture by FRANK REID