Investing in Hackney's Schools: Stoke Newington School theatre set for makeover


Stoke Newington School and Sixth Form’s theatre and drama studio are set for a £700,000 refurbishment thanks to funding from Hackney Council.

The new and improved facilities at the Clissold Road school will include industry-standard lighting and AV systems, modernised ventilation systems, acoustics improvements, mirrors in the drama studio and a full redecoration. Work will take place over the summer holiday, and is due for completion in October.

The work is part of the Investing in Hackney’s Schools programme, which will see over £20m invested in school building improvement works over the next two years.

The Council confirmed details of the programme earlier this year, and work is already underway at schools across the borough. Elsewhere, major works are taking place at Benthal Primary School, including vital roof repairs, new toilets and improved playgrounds.

Building repairs and improvements are also happening at Shoreditch Park, London Fields, Randal Cremer, Queensbridge and Sebright primary schools. Work will also begin in the new couple of weeks at Harrington Hill, Jubilee and Tyssen primary schools.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor of Hackney
Our young people and teachers work really hard, and we’re proud to have some of the best schools in the country. It’s important that our school buildings reflect this.

Our older school buildings are an important part of our local heritage, and loved by many of our residents, but require significant maintenance. The Government has underfunded this work for many years - in recent years we’ve spent an additional £6m of our own funding to make sure these buildings are kept in good condition, but a National Audit Office report identified a need for £7bn of investment across the country to bring school buildings up to a good standard. With ongoing government cuts continuing to affect local authorities, this is a real challenge without investment from the Department for Education. 

I’m proud we’ve taken action to ensure repairs and improvement work is undertaken, and that so many schools are already benefiting from our Investing in Hackney’s Schools programme.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor of Hackney
These renovations will have an impact on the whole school, as the theatre is used by every year group and by lots of different subjects, but it’s also used by the wider community. I think if we have a state of the art space, it not only shows the school and the kids in a good light, but it allows the whole community to share in this wonderful facility that we’ll have.

There’s been a recent shift in GCSE and A Level curriculum towards more technical aspects, and I think the refurb will allow students to be able to work with professional quality equipment and technology, so I think that’s really exciting and that’s something that we’re all looking forward to. A lot of schools can’t offer drama for all year groups due to cuts, but drama is still important and to have this support from Hackney Council is great - it shows that there’s still attention on the creative arts.

Liam Stewart, Head of Drama at Stoke Newington School & Sixth Form

Once the new facilities are in place at Stoke Newington School, staff are planning to launch a weekly tech club to allow theatre tech enthusiasts to get hands-on experience with the lighting desk, learn how to manipulate and record sounds, and to use professional digital audio software.