Hymers College

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Hymers College
Motto High Merit, High Reward
Established 1893
Type Independent day school
Religion Church of England
Headmaster David Elstone
Chairman of Governors Mike Roberts
Founder John Hymers
Location Hymers Avenue
East Riding of Yorkshire
England Coordinates: 53°44′54″N 0°21′54″W / 53.748401°N 0.365094°W / 53.748401; -0.365094
Local authority Kingston upon Hull
DfE number 801/6001
DfE URN 118131 Tables
Staff 105 teaching, 20 support
Students 967
Gender Coeducational
Ages 8–18
Houses Brandesburton, Gore, Holderness and Trinity (Junior School only)
Colours Red & Black          
Publication The Hymerian
Former pupils Old Hymerians
Website Hymers College Official Website

Hymers College is a co-educational independent school and member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, located on the site of the old Botanic Gardens of Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England.[1] It was established in 1893 as a boys' school, but expanded to include girls incrementally from the 1970s, becoming fully co-educational in 1989.[2]


Hymers College was founded by the mathematician, John Hymers, left some of his property to the mayor and corporation of Hull in his will of 24 August 1885. The property was to provide for the foundation of a grammar school, "for the training of intelligence in whatever social rank of life it may be found among the vast and varied population of the Town."[3] Although an obscurity in the wording of the will rendered the bequest invalid, his brother and heir, Robert Hymers, voluntarily granted the sum of £50,000 to establish the school.

Hymers opened in 1893, on the site of the old Botanic Gardens of Hull, as a school for boys.[2] The school quickly established itself, and the first headmaster, Charles Gore, was soon admitted into the HMC, with all subsequent headmasters also being members. Hymers was a fee-paying school for most of its history, and many scholarships and bursaries were given to pupils whose parents' could not afford the fees, in accordance with John Hymers' will for the training of intelligence, regardless of social rank. In 1946 Hymers became a "direct grant" school, with many pupils being paid for by the local authority, in a similar system to today's academies. However, this scheme ended in 1971, and the school governors chose to become a fully independent school, rather than joining into the new comprehensive system, and re-established the bursaries system after the Government-funded Assisted Places scheme ended in 1997.[2]

From 1972, girls (initially just two) were admitted to the sixth form, and in 1989 the decision was made to become fully co-educational. With the opening of the Humber bridge in 1981, the school's catchment area increased to cover the south bank of the river Humber, resulting in the school's numbers extending to their current figure of just under one thousand pupils in the 1990s.[2]

Primary education[edit]

The College has a Junior School which accepts pupils into Years 4, 5 and 6 via an entrance exam, or through the "Associate Schools" program. Hymers currently has two associate schools: Hessle Mount School and Froebel House School, both of which provide education from reception. There is a system of academic tracking with Associate Schools, so that pupils attending these schools do not need to take the entrance exam for entry to the Junior School. Usually, there are just over 200 pupils in all three years of the Junior School (228 in the 2008 ISI report).[4]

In 2003, construction of a new Junior School building was completed, to replace the older building that has since been demolished.

Secondary education[edit]

There has been a steady development of buildings and facilities. In recent years additional land has been purchased, a theatre (opened by and named after Dame Judi Dench), science laboratories, an all-weather sports pitch, and other sports facilities have been constructed. A swimming pool was added in 2005. The school library was closed in 2001, with the majority of books being redistributed to decentralised resource rooms. This was upon the advice of government inspectors, who argued that the library in its previous form was underused. However, plans for a redeveloped Learning Resource Centre are currently in development, again in response to an Independent Schools Inspectorate report from 2008, in which it was stated that "[Pupils] are limited in the amount of independent study and research they can undertake while in school...by the absence of a central library resource."[5]

Hymers College is the best performing school in the East Riding in terms of examination results and league-table position, consistently producing an A2 Level pass rate of 99% (updated 2014 figure).[citation needed] The Sunday Times Parent Power publication ranked Hymers as the 94th best independent school in the country. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC).

The masonic lodge Old Hymerian Lodge is linked to the school.[6]

Extra-curricular activities[edit]


Mainstream sports are rugby and cricket, hockey and netball. In Summer of 2005 and 2009 a 1st/2nd rugby team toured Canada, visiting Calgary, Edmonton and Banff. In June 2007, the U16 cricket squad visited St Lucia for a two-week tour, competing against local clubs and schools with the final match being played at St Lucia's Test match ground the Beausejour Stadium. In more recent years the school has produced excellent teams in a wide range of sports, reaching national finals in athletics, girls' hockey, tennis and badminton. In 2014 the Independent Sport Magazine ranked Hymers as the 26th best sports school in the country.

Music and drama[edit]

The school has a proud tradition in the performing arts. The Judy Dench Theatre was opened in 1993and a new Music Centre was opened by John Rutter in September 2014. The new facility contains nine individual music rooms, two classrooms, a recording studio and the Rutter Rehearsal Room. The school's musicians perform at over 35 concerts each year and increasingly takes concerts out of school to perform in the local community.

Drama is taught to pupils in Years 7 and 8 with youngsters choosing to study it at GCSE and at A2. Many students will appear in the annual school play which is performed in March each year. In addition the Department will produce plays in the Junior School and throughout the senior school.

Army Cadet Force[edit]

Unlike most independent schools who have a CCF (Combined Cadet Force) unit, Hymers has its own Army Cadet Force (ACF) detachment currently containing around 40 cadets ranging from recruits to senior NCOs.

Hymers College RLC Detachment is affiliated to 150th Transport Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps. The detachment is in B Company of Humberside and South Yorkshire ACF.

Camp flag of RLC
Flag of the ACF

In the early 1990s, a pupil (who was also a cadet at another detachment in Hull) approached a teacher who had previously served in the army and suggested that the college should form its own cadet unit. The detachment's regimental affiliation was uncertain, many old Hymerians had fought during the wars in various units but one above all others featured in the records: The Parachute Regiment. No sponsor Parachute Regiment unit was available. The local (TA) unit was the only option, that was Royal Corps of Transport (TA) in Hull at the time the detachment formed. The detachment had the Royal Corps of Transport cap badge for only a few months before the amalgamation of the Royal Corps of Transport into the Royal Logistic Corps. For many years the detachment made use of the college's biology labs and then the school gymnasium. The gymnasium had space for drill indoors, air rifle shooting as well as a small armoury, which was an improvement on the science labs. The detachment commander became the company commander of E company (South Humberside) while the detachment remained in B company. When the detachment commander became the commander of A company instead of E company the detachment became part of A company (east Hull and eastern part of East Yorkshire), this only lasted about a year and the detachment and its commander returned to B company. The detachment moved out of the gymnasium building into a new pre-fabricated building as couple of years ago. A concrete .22 shooting range has recently been added next to the main building.[citation needed]

The detachment commander was until recently the same teacher who started the detachment in the early 1990s, but in 2007 he was replaced by an external officer i.e. not a teacher from the school. Other adult instructors have also assisted with APC training, some of these have been Old Hymerians. The cadets are taught the same APC subjects at the detachment as all other Army Cadet Force (ACF) Detachments in the UK these include: Skill at Arms, Fieldcraft, and Map and Compass.[citation needed]

This detachment is the only one in the country to have 12 above standard certificates for its annual inspections. The land on which the detachment is built is on a 99 year lease to the Ministry of Defence and receives no funding from the College.

School associations[edit]

The school is supported by a number of non-profit associations, primarily run by parents and Old Hymerians, which host events and provide some funding for new facilities.

Hymers College Association (HCA)[edit]

The HCA is a forty-year-old organization, whose primary purpose is to raise funds for the support, expansion and development of the school.[7] It runs a number of annual fundraising events, including a summer Garden Party, a May Ball, second hand uniform sales, and Junior School discos and plays.

Items given to the school as a result of HCA funding include the fleet of three minibuses, the ICT suite and outdoor play area in the Junior School, and the equipment in the Fitness Centre (located in the new Sports Centre, alongside the swimming pool).[7]

Friends of Hymers Music Society (FOHMS)[edit]

FOHMS is a group of parents, friends and members of staff who raise money to help advance the musical education of Hymers pupils. Through fundraising activities they enable the music department to purchase instruments for pupils and provide hospitality at school concerts.[8]

Supporters of Hymers College Sport (SOHCS)[edit]

SOHCS raises funds to purchase major items of sporting equipment that the school would not ordinarily be able to purchase. Through funding events, organized alongside and with the HCA and FOHMS, SOHCS has been able to purchase cricket covers and a tennis serving machine. It also assists with accommodation costs when pupils are representing the school in national competitions.[8]

Old Hymerians[edit]

The original building opened in 1893 for anyone to be educated

Former pupils are known as Old Hymerians and the Old Hymerians Association exists for their benefit. Some notable old Hymerians are:


  1. ^ Hymers College, Hull
  2. ^ a b c d "Hymers College School History". 
  3. ^ John Hymers, Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved January 2010.
  4. ^ "INSPECTION REPORT ON Hymers College". Independent Schools Inspectorate. 2008. p. 1, section 1.3. 
  5. ^ "INSPECTION REPORT ON Hymers College". Independent Schools Inspectorate. 2008. p. 6, section 2.26. 
  6. ^ Old Hymerians Masonic Lodge website
  7. ^ a b "Hymers College Association Information Sheet" (PDF). The Hymers College Association. 
  8. ^ a b "Hymers College School Associations". Hymers College. 
  9. ^ "Professor Jon Driver". The Times. 30 December 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Obituary, The Daily Telegraph

External links[edit]