Sunderland High School to open its doors to the public for the last time

A historic city school which has served Wearside for more than 130 years will open to the public for the last time.

Thursday, 9th June 2016, 11:00 am
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 11:30 am
Sunderland High School.

Sunderland High School will open its doors to the community to celebrate the life of the school, which is set to close at the end of the academic year.

Parents, students and staff were left stunned in January following the shock announcement the school was going to close.

A hardy group of volunteers united in a bid to take over the running of the school – but despite overwhelming support, they did not have time to secure its future.

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Dawn Pringle, who launched the bid to save Sunderland High School, said: “It is heartbreaking. The children and the staff are just devastated by it.

“If we had been given prior warning last year what was planned, I’m sure we would have been able to save it.

“It is very sad for the children and staff at the school, but also very sad for the city.”

United Church Schools Trust, which owns Sunderland High School, blamed the decision to close on falling pupil numbers, from 580 to less than 290 in 10 years.

Sunderland High School will be opening its doors for the final time on Saturday, July 9 from noon to 5pm, to welcome all current and former pupils, parents, teachers and families to enjoy an afternoon on the school premises.

A spokeswoman for the school, said: “This will be the final opportunity for everyone to view old classrooms, take photos, share memories of the past, relive old school experiences, reunite with old friends and enjoy an afternoon in the beautiful grounds of the school.”

At 11am there will be a Valedictory Church Service at St Ignatius Church, Hendon.

From noon to 2pm will be open house at the Mowbray Road site buildings and from 1pm to 5pm a celebration party will be held at Tonstall House, the junior school site, where there will be a hog roast, bouncy castle, face painting, a magician and circus skills. People are invited to take along their own picnics.

Mementors and small photographs will be available to buy for a small charity donation in an honesty box on the day.

The school was founded in 1884 and houses a rich history, not only for the thousands of children who were educated here but for the city of Sunderland.

Former scholars include television journalist, Kate Adie, the late Denise Robertson, and the only person in Sunderland to earn a Victoria Cross, George Maling, who lived in Carlton House and whose official blue plaque is there for all to see.