North Halifax Grammar School
|Motto||Living to Learn, Learning to Live|
|Type||Grammar school; Academy|
|Chair of Governors||Colin Hartley|
|Specialism||Science and Languages|
|DfE URN||136788 Tables|
|Houses||Lister, Ackroyd, Waterhouse|
|Former name||North Halifax High School, The Highlands School|
The school has approximately one thousand students, aged 11 to 18. NHGS works with Crossley Heath Grammar School to administer an admissions test, admitting 155 students at age 11+ each year through an entrance examination which consists of Verbal Reasoning, Mathematics and English tests. Admissions are also accepted at the age 16+ stage, without a formal quota.
The Princess Mary High School (which was known as Halifax High School for Girls before 1931) had around 350 girls and was opened on 21 September 1931 by Princess Mary. It became known as the Princess Mary School in 1969 and was situated on Francis Street. When the school closed, there was a Service of Thanksgiving in July 1985 at the Halifax Parish Church. The buildings became part of Percival Whitley College, and then were part of Halifax New College (which eventually became Calderdale College when it combined with the Halifax School of Integrated Arts). The site is currently scheduled to be demolished and redeveloped.
The Halifax Technical High School was formed in 1957. This was before its Moorbottom Road premises were completed and opened in May 1959 by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds. It had around 725 boys and girls. It became the Highlands School in 1969.
The North Halifax High School was formed with the 1987 amalgamation of the Highlands School and the Princess Mary School with some current teachers working at one of these schools before the amalgamation.
The school was grant-maintained in the early 1990s, being funded directly from the government rather than via the local authority. Around 1993/4 the school changed its name from North Halifax High School to North Halifax Grammar School (it had been selective before this). In 1999, the school became a foundation school, giving the governing body ownership of the buildings and site and expanded executive powers. After a long fundraising campaign, the school achieved Specialist Science College status in 2004, which funded the refurbishment and extension of existing laboratories and the construction of a new one. The previous headteacher, Graham Maslen, retired in September 2013.
The school consistently achieves highly, being one of 19 secondary schools to be rated outstanding in its previous three inspections. The school also receives criticism, however, as it is one of the few "highly selective" schools in England taking just the top ten per cent of students. In the 2011 BBC GCSE League Tables report, NHGS was ranked 17th in the country, higher than local rival Crossley Heath Grammar School. Absence is low, with the Department for Education reporting the school's non-authorised absence rate as negligible.
The North Halifax Grammar School receives comparatively little funding for the number of students attending. Some buildings are in need of renovation. However, the new £Million Graham Maslen Language block, Darwin Sixth Form Learning Center and MUGA? are all recent additions to the facilities.
The Sixth Form is the largest in Calderdale, currently offering a large range of academic A-levels. In 2006, 449 A2 entries were made, with a 98.7% pass rate. In 2009 the Darwin Sixth Form Learning Centre was completed and finished for use. It was designed to give the sixth form more space around the school; and houses six brand new classrooms and a much larger common-room alongside a canteen exclusively for Sixth Form students. A new common-room allowed the school to redevelop the previous space into a new Sixth Form study room with desks and several computers.
Extracurricular activities include rugby league. In the Upper School students attend Queens Sports Club, Diamonds Gymnastics Club, North Bridge Leisure Centre and Holmfield Mill for Physical Education.
In Sixth Form, students are offered the chance to take part in several other extra-curricular activities, such as the Young Enterprise Company Programme. Other activities specifically for Sixth Form are Reading Matters, a programme in which students help out by reading with primary school students at the local Whitehill Community Academy and the The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme.
Notable former pupils
- Emma Williams - actress
- Gary Fellows - Yorkshire cricketer
- Joe Tyler - skier
- Hannah Mayho - British Cycling's Olympic Academy Squad member
The Highlands School
- Julie Kirkbride - Conservative MP for Bromsgrove from 1997–2010, and former Daily Telegraph journalist
- Richard Leishman, Olympic swimmer at the 1992 Olympics - still holds the 100m Butterfly junior record for English schools, set in 1983
The Princess Mary High School
- Phyllis Bentley OBE, novelist - wrote Inheritance
- Stella Robson, Chairman from 1998-2002 of the Northern Sinfonia, Mayor of Darlington from 2005-6
- 11+ Admissions; NHGS online; retrieved ???.[dead link]
- 16+ Admissions; NHGS online; retrieved ???.[dead link]
- Halifax Girls' High School; features 1930 Mono-photo (Document ID: 100732); "From Weaver to Web; Online Visual Archive of Calderdale History"; retrieved 5 March 2014.
- Princess Mary's High School for Girls; features [unknown year] postcard photo (Document ID: 100297); "From Weaver to Web; Online Visual Archive of Calderdale History"; retrieved 5 March 2014.
- Francis Street Redevelopment; 15 January 2009; article; Halifax Courier; retrieved 5 March 2014.
- The School They Called Simply PM; 18 June 2013; article; Halifax Courier; retrieved .
- Note: It was more a simple closure of the Princess Mary School than an amalgamation, with all teaching taking place at the Highlands site.
- Secondary League Tables 2011...; 26 January 2012; BBC online; retrieved 5 March 2014.
- "Sixth Form Prospectus 2014"; PDF file (auto download); NHGS materials online; accessed 5 March 2014.
- http://www.essa-schoolswimming.com/essarecords.htm ESSA swimming records