The Crossley Heath School

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The Crossley Heath School
Crossley Heath Crest James Garner.png
Motto Omne Bonum Ab Alto
(All good things come from above)
Established 1985 (in current form)
Heath Grammar School (1585)
Crossley and Porter School (1887)
Type Grammar academy
Headteacher Wendy Moffat
Chair of Governors S. Whitson
Location Savile Park
West Yorkshire
53°42′42″N 1°52′41″W / 53.7116°N 1.878°W / 53.7116; -1.878Coordinates: 53°42′42″N 1°52′41″W / 53.7116°N 1.878°W / 53.7116; -1.878
Local authority Calderdale Borough Council
DfE URN 139182 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1044
Gender Co-educational (Mixed)
Ages 11–18
Houses Porter
Colours Black and Gold          
Website The Crossley Heath School

The Crossley Heath School is a mixed selective grammar school with academy status located on Skircoat Moor Road,[1] Savile Park, Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, with 984 pupils aged from 11 to 18, and 214 students in its sixth form.


The Crossley Heath School was founded in 1985 as an amalgamation of the Crossley and Porter School and Heath Grammar School.

Heath Grammar School[edit]

Heath Grammar School, Free School Lane, Halifax, West Yorkshire was founded in 1585 by Dr John Favour. Its full title was The Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth. Henry Farror and his brother gave 2 acres (8,100 m2) of land in Skircoat Green and personally obtained the school charter from Elizabeth I of England at his own expense. Dr Favour became the Vicar of Halifax in 1593.

Crossley and Porter School[edit]

In 1857 Frank (later Sir Francis Crossley, 1st Baronet) and John Crossley, of Dean Clough Mills, founded an orphanage through capital of £56,000 and a further endowment of £50,000. In 1887, after a gift of £50,000 from Thomas Porter, a Manchester yarn merchant, the orphanage was extended to include schooling. Over time, the need for an orphanage decreased and the school became a grammar school. The building was designed by John Hogg, a local architect.

At the time of the 1881 census,[2] Head master William Cambridge Barber, assisted by a Matron, Head mistress, and 8 assistant masters and mistresses, presided over a population of 216 "scholar orphans." They included 84 girls and 132 boys, ranging in age from 7 to 16. They were mostly English born, but included a few Irish as well as children from as far away as Australia.

A Royal Charter of 31 January 1887, named the institution The Crossley and Porter Orphan Home and School. In 1919 the school was given royal permission to admit day pupils.

There were two sections - the Crossley and Porter Boys' School, with around 300 boys, and the Crossley and Porter Girls' School, with around 450 girls, administered by the County Borough of Halifax. In 1967, it became the co-educational Crossley and Porter School with around 800 girls and boys.

The Crossley Heath School[edit]

The amalgamation required a re-organisation of the two sets of staff, the net outcome being the former Headmaster of Crossley and Porter, Paul Barker, became the Head of the new school with John Bunch, former acting Head of Heath becoming Deputy Headmaster. The first intake of true Crossley Heath students arrived on Tuesday 27 August 1985. The initial intake was circa 90 pupils; a reduction from the previous intakes of Crossley and Porter and Heath intakes by around 50 pupils.

The school was initially located on two sites, the former Crossley and Porter School building and the Heath Grammar School building (initially referred to as the Crossley Heath Annex but later changed to the Crossley Heath 6th Form Centre). The former Heath building initially housed the combined sixth forms of the two schools, plus the combined fourth form, with all other years being housed at Savile Park. As the number of pupils reduced over the coming years, the 6th form and 4th form were relocated to the Savile Park site and the Free School Lane site was passed over to the local authority to become a training centre. Throughout this period, the staff head count was also reduced to reflect the smaller number of pupils.

The school became a Specialist Language College in 2003. In 2006 it was designated a Language College and a second specialism as a Leadership Partner school was granted in 2007. In 2010 a sports hall was built, which provided an extra sport and dance facility (supplementing the two Victorian gymnasia) for students and staff. It also provides a space in which the whole school can congregate. In February 2011 Ofsted inspected the school and judged it to be "outstanding". Improvements included better leadership, a range of partnerships and collaborative ventures, more effective support and guidance systems for students and the school's best ever examination results.

The school converted to academy status in January 2013.




The school entrance examination, administered jointly with North Halifax Grammar School, is the 11 plus, taken by prospective pupils in December of Year 6 to determine academic ability and attainment; those not achieving a high enough grade can appeal to Calderdale council. Those who apply to enter the school between the years 7 and 11 are required to pass examinations in English, Mathematics, Science and a chosen Modern Foreign Language. Exceptions are sometimes made for pupils swapping schools in Year 7, or transferring from other grammar schools. To enter the Sixth Form students must achieve higher than GCSE grade C in all compulsory subjects and grade B or higher in all chosen subjects.

School catchment[edit]

The area surrounding the Crossley Heath School is relatively prosperous, however the school draws pupils from a wide geographical area, some pupils travelling long distances. The proportion of pupils with special educational needs, and the proportion with statements, is below the national average, as is the proportion of pupils entitled to free school meals.


The school is a specialist language college and teaches a range of languages, including French, German, Spanish and Chinese, taught within a dedicated building.


In 2005 the school built a new technology block with five classrooms to accommodate graphics, electronics, resistant materials, textiles and food technology, and a dedicated music technology IT suite.


The school has a number of sports teams. Athletics, cross country, hockey, cricket, football and rugby teams have won competitions locally,nationally and internationally. The Boys Rugby and Girls Netball teams have toured all around the world.


Students belong to one of four houses; Porter, Savile (derived from the Crossley and Porter School - the houses of Crossley and Standeven were dropped in the merger), Kings and Queens (derived from Heath Grammar School - the houses of Heath and School were dropped in the merger). Competitions between the houses each year include a Sports Day, Swimming Gala, and House Music and House Drama Competitions. Houses and forms also compete to raise money for charities such as Comic Relief, Jeans for Genes and Children in Need.

New Sixth Form Block[edit]

In 2015, headteacher Wendy Moffat announced that plans for a new sixth form block to replace the existing ageing facilities had been approved and that construction was to begin immediately. Construction took just over a year and the building opened to students in early 2016.

Notable former pupils[edit]

Crossley and Porter School[edit]

Crossley School[edit]

  • Charles Belling (1884–1965) – electrical engineer; formed the MK Electric company in 1912
  • Sir Herbert Read DSO, MC (1893–1968) – art critic, historian, poet, and anarchist

Notable teachers[edit]

  • Robin Pedley – history teacher at Crossley and Porter School from 1943–46, and promoter of comprehensive schools, who developed the three-tier model of education which was mostly implemented first in Leicestershire (and largely abandoned in 2008). His book, The Comprehensive School was published by Penguin Education in 1963.
  • Bryan M Weston – religion teacher at Crossley Heath School from 1969–70, one of the main people to support keeping 'the cane' in the education system.

The Crossley Heath School book[edit]

Crossley Heath School, written by Rose Taylor, Andrew Kafel and Russell Smith, covers the history of Heath School, and Crossley and Porter Schools which amalgamated to form the present Crossley Heath School. It contains images dating from the Victorian era to 2006, and some previously unpublished.[3]


  1. ^ Aerial photo
  2. ^ Census returns for Skircoat, 1841-1891. UK Public Records Office RG11/408/102 pg 1. (Online transcription [1])
  3. ^ Taylor, Rose; Kafel, Andrew; Smith, Russell; Crossley Heath School, Tempus Publishing Limited (2006). ISBN 0-7524-3866-2.

External links[edit]