Telephone 01728 860213
E-Mail office@debenhamhigh.co.uk
Postcode IP14 6BL

Debenham High School

Debenham High School

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History of the School

"I always felt part of a caring community, almost an extended family, where staff and pupils genuinely cared about each other.  Mr. Holifield was an absolutely brilliant headmaster".  This recent tribute from a former pupil of Debenham Modern School could equally well describe the ethos of the present day Debenham High School and the regard in which its current leaders are held.

Opened in 1964, the Modern School from which the high school developed was designed to accommodate 250 pupils and to provide secondary education for those children of "high Suffolk" - the vast majority - who had not been selected to attend a local grammar school and who, until then, had been taught at the all-age village schools in Debenham and Stonham Aspal or at Framlingham Modern School.

Mr. Arthur Holifield was appointed as the first headteacher of the new school and, while the building work, carried out by local craftsmen, was nearing completion, he discovered that the site had once formed part of the Cheke family estate so he decided to incorporate the cockerel from their coat of arms into the school badge.  It was Mr. Holifield and the eleven teachers whom he appointed who created the distinctive character of the school.

Comprehensive education came to Suffolk in 1979 and the Modern School was then re-named Debenham High School.  This change of role necessitated the building of additional classrooms and laboratories and the recruitment of extra staff as well as an enhancement of the curriculum.  A pupil from the first comprehensive intake was the first to go on to obtain a science doctorate. 

Following Mr. Holifield's retirement, Mrs. Angela McClelland was appointed Headteacher in 1983.  One of her objectives was to widen the cultural horizons of her pupils.  She encouraged the gifted children to aim high and her first GCSE classical studies pupil later gained admission to Oxford University.  Where this pupil led, several others have followed. 

Mrs. McClelland was succeeded as head in 1989 by Mr. Michael Crawshaw under whose leadership the curriculum was expanded, the number of pupils grew and the school has regularly featured at the top of the county league tables and high in the national tables for key stage 3 SATS and for results at GCSE.  This success led to the need for more classrooms to be built and eventually to the school being designated a Specialist Science College.

Over the years the school and individual pupils have won a number of local and national prizes in both arts and sciences.  Then, in 2006, the whole community rejoiced at the news that the headteacher had been awarded the OBE for services to education