A YEAR after Heritage High celebrated the opening of its new £20 million school, headteacher Don Spencer looks back on the advantages it has brought for pupils and the community alike.
Following more than 70 years as Clowne Heritage School, initially as an all-girls school, the institution has gone through many changes, none more so than in January 2011.
A product of the previous Government’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, the school dusted off the cobwebs and rebranded itself as Heritage High on its Boughton Lane campus.
It wasn’t the only transition, however, as pupils adapted to a new uniform and school badge, designed by one of the students, and facilities engineered to modernise learning.
“We had a problem with PE,” said Mr Spencer.
“We used to have a school hall and we would have to use that for everything. We would have lunch and then have to rush the children out, sweep the floors ahead of the next class.”
Now, the school boasts a brand new main hall, sports hall, fitness suit, and dance and drama studio, as well as room for four football pitches on site. The dining room has also been fitted with a modern kitchen and the capacity to seat over 300 people.
“Our standards have been in awe of the new building,” he added. “Parents have been very appreciative of the learning environment of the 21st Century we have created.”
Positioned towards the rear of the school grounds, the campus possesses four subject blocks: Creative, Communication, Discovery and Performance. Mr Spencer said he wanted a forward thinking school and is keen to promote the technology available to current students.
“Our ICT is the most up-to-date,” he said. “They have been able to use media technology for productions in the main hall, cinema, dance studio and stage.”
Teaching in lessons has changed too, with each classroom fitted with an electronic whiteboard. “Teachers can stream directly from the internet to enhance learning.”
“We now have no shortage of PCs - we have one for every two pupils. There are specific programmes for pupils to familiarise themselves with for when they leave school and enter the world of work.”
The school also offers pupils the chance to continue into post-16 education and its sports facilities are available for community use in the evenings.
But Mr Spencer doesn’t want to stop there.
“We will always strive to consistently improve,” he added.