South Shields Grammar-Technical School for Boys  
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Developments at Harton

July 2004

As the 2003/4 academic year finished, Ken Gibson sees the end of his first year as Headteacher (the post is no longer "Headmaster" I'm afraid). Since his arrival, there have been a number of changes at the school. Some classrooms have undergone a refurbishment, and almost all the 30 classrooms now have projectors in them.

Exam results from summer, 2003, proved very good, and the school continues to support achievements in sports and arts. But the arrival of Ken Gibson has seen a couple of new major changes that I'm sure will be of interest to previous students of the school.

The name has changed
The school has undergone another change of name. It achieved status as a "Technology College" in 1996, and to reflect this success, the governors have agreed to the name of the school being changed to Harton Technology College.

... and so has the school uniform
As well as the change of name, the school uniform will change from September, 2004. I'm pleased to say that the colours remain the same, and the uniform retains the school badge. But the shirt and tie appear to have gone, and in their place will be a "polo neck shirt and jumper". I'm trying to find out a little more, and possibly even get a photo for the site at some time.

... and so will the buildings
Under the government's "Building Schools for the Future" scheme (intended to fund the refurbishment and/or redevlopment of every secondary school), South Tyneside has been awared the substantial sum of £136m for secondary schools in the region. Harton Technology College's share is about £18m, and over the next few years there will be significant changes on the site.

When I last heard from Ken Gibson, back in April, he told me that funding had been secured for a new sports hall, and that building should start "later this year". He was also keen to squash rumours that the existing building was to be demolished. I know that he is keen to preserve the school's heritage, and that there is unlikely to be a wholesale demolition of the site (I think there'd be many objections to the destructon of what is one of the most significant buildings in the town, second only to the Town Hall).

I'm told that the frontage is likely to be preserved. I hope that it will be a little more than this - it should be possible to do some significant work behind the frontage without destroying the character of the front corridors and the hall (bearing in mind that much of the 1950s refurbishment was not particularly well done, and was somewhat out of character in places).

Clearly the hall itself would have to be expanded, but preserving its character within a new and modern building should be fairly easy.

The work should all be completed y 2007/8 ... and we will await developments. As far as possible, I'll keep the site up to date on news.


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