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Paston Sixth Form College is a sixth form college in the town of North Walsham in the English county of Norfolk. It was created in 1984 from a merger between the Paston School and North Walsham High School for Girls.
Students come to Paston from a wide geographical area of rural, coastal and Broadland Norfolk: from nearby high schools in Acle, Aylsham, Cromer, Martham (Flegg), North Walsham, Sheringham, Stalham and Wroxham (Broadland), and also from North Norwich, Reepham and further afield in Norfolk.
The curriculum is wide for a college of its size with over 60 AS/A courses AS and A level and 4 BTEC Extended Diplomas [equivalent to A-level]. Performing Arts are a feature of Paston with its own student theatre company. "Far East Theatre".
The college occupies the buildings of its 2 predecessor schools. The two sites include buildings dating from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, set in extensive lawns in the centre of the town.
The Paston School, a grammar school was founded in 1606 by Sir William Paston, a libertarian, local magistrate, landowner and a member of an important local family. The emblem of the school was the griffin, which, along with six fleur de lys and the motto De mieux en mieux pour tout ("From good to better everywhere"), featured on the school coat of arms.
North Walsham High School for Girls
The grammar school for girls was founded in the early years of the 20th century, becoming a Norfolk county girls grammar school in 1919. The present College's Lawns Site was the site of the school. The founders of the school were the Misses Cooke and the girls were known locally as "Cookies".
Notable former pupils
The school is famous as the school of Admiral Lord Nelson, who attended the school with his brother William 1768-1771. The college still holds a small collection of artefacts relating to Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar. It was also attended by William Hoste, a naval commander who served under Nelson. Another famous old boy is Thomas Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury - 1691-1715. Other former pupils include the actor and writer Stephen Fry, Robin Nash, Head of Variety and then Head of Comedy at the BBC, Clive Baker, former goalkeeper with Norwich City, Barnsley F.C., Coventry City and Ipswich Town, Allan Smethurst, The Singing Postman and Craig Murray, the former ambassador to Uzbekistan.
Amongst those who attended North Walsham High School for Girls are Baroness Gillian Shephard, politician and former Conservative Secretary of State for Education and Employment and Carole Walker a BBC political correspondent. Sam Kelly, a musician who appeared on Britain's Got Talent, attended the school in its current form.
- A History of the Paston School - Charles Forder, second edition 1975
- Moab is my Washpot - Stephen Fry