The school of tomorrow, today – Letchworth’s Highfield School set to hold open day as £15 million rebuild nears completion

PUBLISHED: 08:27 24 November 2016

The new Highfield School buildings.

The new Highfield School buildings.

Archant

The future is just around the corner at Letchworth’s Highfield School, with its state-of-the-art £15 million rebuild set to be ready by Christmas.

Highfield School head Ian Morris in one of the new classrooms.Highfield School head Ian Morris in one of the new classrooms.

The state-of-the-art development has risen next door to the old buildings over the past year and a half, with the old school blocks to be demolished next year.

And old pupils and staff are set to say farewell to the old while having a sneak peek at the new at an open day on December 10.

The school is set to take formal possession of the new facilities, fully funded by the Education Funding Agency, on January 3 – and asked how it felt, headteacher Ian Morris told the Comet: “It feels daunting.

“The biggest difference is the space we’re going to have in the corridors, with lots of routes up and down, meaning no crush points. The classrooms are bigger, too.

Highfield School pastoral care co-ordinator and former pupil Andrea Edwards in one of the new science labs.Highfield School pastoral care co-ordinator and former pupil Andrea Edwards in one of the new science labs.

“The children are really excited – even those in Year 13, who will only get six months there.

“Parents are absolutely thrilled, and excited for their children to have the best facilities in the area. We’ve had a surge in applications.”

The new Highfield has a bright and modern design, with high ceilings and large windows flooding the rooms with light, and a logical room numbering system intended to help pupils on the autism spectrum.

And walking around the new site, Highfield pastoral care co-ordinator Andrea Edwards – a former pupil at the school herself – said: “It’s hard to believe it’s our school.”

The new Highfield School buildings.The new Highfield School buildings.

The original school site will be turned into communal areas including fields and sports facilities – with the bonus of an attractive view out across the countryside.

Mr Morris complimented the pupils on their conduct as the new school developed around them from the ground up.

“They have been tremendous during the last 18 months,” he said. “We’ve had real pressure on communal throughways and they have behaved impeccably.”

Old pupils, staff or indeed anyone who has had any link with Highfield is invited to the open day from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, December 10.

Mr Morris said: “You are welcome with your families to wander round the old blocks to say farewell, and have a sneak peek at one of the new blocks.”

Guests confirmed include teachers who were at Highfield for more than 30 years.

Visitors will also be able to buy a booklet about the history of Highfield School, compiled by Mrs Edwards and including memories from former heads such as Peter Jackson and Gaynor Cashin, as well as the original Highfield building plan.

Councillor Terry Hone, who represents Letchworth South on Herts County Council, has allocated £700 from his locality budget to help fund the open day.

He said: “I have been supportive of the significant investment into the new Highfield School to provide up-to-date, state-of-the-art learning facilities for the secondary school pupils in Letchworth, and am pleased to be able to help with funding the celebration of its opening.”

School memorabilia such as commemorative mugs will also be available to buy during the open day.

Parking is limited, so guests are asked to park considerately in neighbouring streets.

For more see highfield.herts.sch.uk.

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