Smithdon ugh School. Picture: Ian Burt.

A 67-year-old school has been chosen by the government for a rebuild which will “make a huge difference” to students.

Smithdon High School in Hunstanton is among 50 schools in the country selected in the second round of the government’s school rebuilding programme.

Ministers pledged last year to rebuild 500 schools over the next decade so more pupils can “benefit from new, modern, energy efficient school buildings”. 

Speaking on Monday following the announcement, Smithdon headteacher John Hirst said: “I’m delighted with this significant investment in education in Hunstanton and West Norfolk. 

“Once our school has been rebuilt, it will make a huge difference to our students, where their talents can be identified and nurtured in an outstanding 21st century school mirroring the great teaching and support that already takes place at Smithdon.

“As a school and a trust, we have worked really hard in the background to lobby for this investment to make sure our children continue to learn in the best possible environment long into the future, and I feel today’s (Monday’s) announcement highlights the confidence at government level in the leadership of Smithdon and the West Norfolk Academies Trust (WNAT).

“I am extremely grateful for the teamwork that has taken place in the trust to get to this stage, and we’re looking forward to meeting with the Department for Education next week to further discuss this project and the next steps.”

The school underwent a major £1m revamp last year, which saw the food technology area, two classrooms, two ICT suites and two art rooms given a complete makeover.

Roger Livesey, chairman of WNAT, which oversees 11 schools in West Norfolk, said: “We are delighted that the government is investing millions of pounds to rebuild Smithdon as this investment will now complete the transformation of Smithdon High School into an education establishment of the highest calibre. 

“Once complete, our new school building will ensure all children in Hunstanton and surrounding villages in North West Norfolk will have the very best possible school and education.”

North West Norfolk MP James Wild said it was great news the school had been selected.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild.

“Since I saw the issues with the buildings first hand, I have worked closely with the school to make the case for investment to ministers and that need has now been recognised by the government,” he said.

“This will help the school to deliver better facilities for pupils in Hunstanton in which to learn and realise their potential.”

The school was built in the seaside town in 1954 and was named Hunstanton Secondary Modern School before it was renamed as Smithdon High School in 1980.