Harrogate Grammar School

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Harrogate Grammar School
Hgs shield.jpg
Motto Arx Celebris Fontibus
Established 1903
Type Academy
Headmaster Richard Sheriff
Location Arthurs Avenue
North Yorkshire
53°58′52″N 1°32′50″W / 53.980994°N 1.547271°W / 53.980994; -1.547271Coordinates: 53°58′52″N 1°32′50″W / 53.980994°N 1.547271°W / 53.980994; -1.547271
DfE URN 136497 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Staff 120
Students 1,740
Ages 11–18
Sixth form 460
Website www.harrogategrammar.co.uk

Harrogate Grammar School, is a coeducational academy school and sixth form located in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. It has about 1,700 pupils and there are about 600 pupils in the sixth form. The current headmaster is Richard Sheriff who became the full-time headmaster of the school in January 2007.

Early history[edit]

Harrogate Grammar School was founded in 1903 as the Municipal Secondary Day School of Harrogate. Its original premises were simply a collection of rented rooms in Haywra Crescent.[1] By the time the school achieved Grammar School status in 1931 the school had outgrown its premises as the original roll of 44 pupils had grown to 530. Work began on the 'new' Grammar School in Arthurs Avenue, to which the staff and pupils transferred in 1933.

The main 1933 building


During the Second World War evacuees poured into Harrogate from the cities. This swelled the roll at the school to 900, still a small number compared with the roll of 1740 in 2006.

To keep pace with these numbers there have been various periods of building expansion, notably in the 1970s with the addition of a sports hall, gymnasium, music, reflexology and technology facilities.

Between 1976–77 a new sports hall was built together with a new classroom block. This eventually enabled the removal of the temporary classrooms situated in the old playground. An all weather shale pitch, primarily for hockey, was created at the Otley Road end of the playing field. A new Sixth Form block, including a common room, a new library and new science labs was added, these were situated to the rear and eastern aspect of the school. This has recently been further extended. A humanities building was added in the 1990s.

In 2002 Harrogate Grammar School acquired Specialist Language Status and now has state-of-the-art language-learning facilities and the services of six native speaker language assistants each year. In 2006 the school was recognised as an extremely successful specialist school and was invited to take on a second specialism in technology. A new-build library and IT suite were opened in July 2006. Temporary classrooms for the Sixth Form were added in October 2006, and these are expected to stay on the School grounds until the new sixth form arrangements have been built.

In 2010, Harrogate Grammar School opened their new Sixth Form block for its ever-expanding higher education 16–19 section. The Sixth Form has a lecture theatre with retractable seating of up to 300, as well as a number of classrooms and a cloister area. The new building replaces the old temporary classrooms that adjoined with the Arthur's Avenue nursery which were knocked down.

In the 2011, following the government's plans to turn high performing comprehensive schools in the UK into academies, the school was granted academy status, giving the school more flexibility in its operation including its school curriculum. The school is now an 'independent academy trust'.

Plans were made to expand the sixth form centre, an opening expected in September 2012. It would include a new café and increased study space in the area previously occupied by 'The Gate', and would be sited on what was a home-grown garden which has been relocated to outside the Sixth Form entrance. The extension opened in 2013 as 'The Sherwood Wing', named after Mrs Jan Sherwood, a former Sixth Form Director, for her contribution to the school.


The school shares its motto with the town of Harrogate. "Arx Celebris Fontibus" translates from Latin as "A citadel famous for its springs".

The new 6 form building in 2007

Sixth form[edit]

The school has undergone a period of growth in its sixth form and now has a roll of 540 students. The increased provision for sixth form began in the 1980s when a dedicated sixth form block was added. Increasing numbers has meant that the sixth form accommodation has been extended in recent years; with the latest addition being a number of temporary classrooms which were installed in late 2006. In 2008 the school acquired planning permission to remove the temporary classrooms and replace them with a permanent structure.

In the Autumn term of 2010 the school opened an extension to the old sixth form block which includes a 300-seat lecture theatre called 'The Forum'. This venue has been designed to accommodate events such as conferences, coffee mornings, school plays, and open evenings. The new building incorporates seven new teaching rooms, a green room for the Forum (which can also be used as a teaching and conference room), a cloister garden and computer suite. The extension has replaced the four temporary classrooms that were constructed in late 2006.

Qualifications taught in the sixth form include GCE Advanced Subsidiary Level Qualifications, the GCE Advanced Level Qualifications and the International Baccalaureate diploma,[2] although the IB option is unlikely to exist from September 2009. There is also an option for pupils to retake Maths and English GCSE.

The sixth form includes a study centre, 19 classrooms and a dining facility called 'The Gate', which is run and maintained by canteen staff and is exclusive to the Sixth form. This has now been extended to include a new facility known as 'G2'. 'The Gate' now operates as part of an extended study centre because of need for increased provision.

Recent Ofsted statistics for A2 results last year put the school at 63rd in the country out of over 1800 for the 'value' it adds to students, this being in the top 3.5%.

House system[edit]

The School operates a House system, introduced in the 1950s. It was later ended but reinstated in 2001. The Houses in 2013 are: Ventus, Ignis, Terra and Aqua, representing the four classical elements.


In 1999 North Yorkshire County Council paid £6000 in an out-of-court settlement to John Carnell, a former pupil who claimed that Harrogate Grammar School persistently failed to protect him from bullying.[3] The school denied these claims and now has an Anti-Bullying Policy in place. In 1999 Carnell and his mother Liz Carnell founded the charity Bullying Online, now Bullying UK.

Air Training Corps[edit]

On 17 February 1939 No 58 (Harrogate) Squadron of the Air Defence Cadet Corps was established at the school by the Air League of the British Empire.[4] The squadron has since moved to separate premises and is no longer associated with the school. Pupils from the school are still active cadets within the squadron.


In the most recent Ofsted inspection the school gained an "outstanding" grade.[5]

Notable former pupils[edit]

Achievement links[edit]


  1. ^ "Harrogate Grammar School History". Archived from the original on 31 December 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Harrogate Grammar School". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2007. 
  3. ^ "Education Bullying victim paid £6,000 by council". BBC News. 1 November 1999. Retrieved 3 February 2007. 
  4. ^ "58 (Harrogate) Squadron History". Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2007. 
  5. ^ Briggs, Anthony (10 October 2007). "Inspection Report: Harrogate Grammar School". London: Ofsted. Archived from the original (– Scholar search) on 13 September 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2008. 
  6. ^ "Donald Bell VC". harrogategrammar.openhivefoundation.org. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Campbell, Duncan (8 June 2009). "Andrew Brons: the genteel face of neo-fascism". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  8. ^ "EXPOSED: BNP man's past". Harrogate Advertiser. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. 12 June 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2009. 
  9. ^ http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Andy+gets+a+kick+out+of+life%3B+Acting+is+simply+child's+play+for...-a076672961

External links[edit]