Benjamin Britten School opened in September 1978 to serve the growing population of North Suffolk. It was designed as an ‘Upper School’ catering for students aged 13 to 18. Named after the composer Benjamin Britten who was born in Lowestoft and maintained connections with his hometown; his surviving family were involved from the beginning of the project and maintained links with the school for some years. Links between Benjamin Britten the composer and Benjamin Britten the school were again forged as part of his centenary celebrations.
The school was a striking ‘Avant Garde’ design having a bright white exterior; tinted windows and modular appearance. Although the site has been developed over the years, much of the main site buildings retain the original design externally. The interior now contains a number of small secret courtyards accessible only through the buildings.
The original layout of the school was as an H shape and the first Headmistress based one of four ‘Student Houses’ in each of the legs. The Houses were named after the planets Saturn, Mercury, Jupiter and Neptune and set the tone for the strong pastoral care throughout the school, which has been continued by subsequent Headmasters. The school buildings have been extended a number of times to provide accommodation for community learning increased numbers of sixth form students and specialist rooms for Maths and ICT.
The 1980’s saw innovative skills-based curricular activities where subjects were often integrated and timetables shared across subject areas. The school embraced new initiatives which set the precedent for more vocational based education. It also maintained a strong academic tradition regularly preparing students for Oxbridge and other universities. In the late 1990’s, Benjamin Britten School became a Specialist Technology College and in 2008 the original specialism was changed to that of Maths and Computing.
The school has always been renowned for the quality of its extra-curricular activities, from success in sports to highly polished dramatic and musical productions. The highly successful Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme is a strength of the school and for many years the students have achieved the Gold award with expeditions as far afield as the Isle of Arran and the Pyrenees combining adventure with working within the local community.
In 2016 the School built on its musical heritage as it merged with the Hartismere Family of Schools. This Schools Trust has long held a position of excellence in the teaching of mathematics and like Benjamin Britten positions Music at the heart of its Arts curriculum. 2016 also saw the Britten Pears Foundation become the official sponsor of the Music Academy the only school in England to be built in honour of Lowestoft's world class composer.
In the summer of this same year Peter Aldous, MP, opened the newly designated Suffolk Centre of Excellence in Mathematics in its specialist facility in the Foxborough building. The award of Sixth Form status as part of its funding agreement was also signed off by the Secretary of State for Education, the Right Honourable Nicky Morgan. It is expected that the School will once again be oversubscribed during the 2017 academic year.