Harrogate Grammar School

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Harrogate Grammar School
Hgs shield.jpg
Arthurs Avenue

, ,

Coordinates53°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
MottoArx Celebris Fontibus
Department for Education URN136497 Tables
HeadteacherNeil Renton
Age11 to 18
HousesVentus, Terra, Ignis and Aqua
Sixth form460

Harrogate Grammar School is a co-educational academy school and sixth form in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. It has around 1,900 pupils in the main school.[1] A 2022 Ofsted inspection rated the school as 'Outstanding' in all 5 areas of the Ofsted framework[2]


Harrogate Grammar School was founded in 1903 as the Municipal Secondary Day School of Harrogate. Its original premises were a collection of rented rooms in Haywra Crescent.[3] By the time the school became a Grammar School in 1931 the original roll of 44 pupils had grown to 530, and the school had outgrown its premises. Work began on the new grammar school in Arthurs Avenue and the staff and pupils transferred in 1933.


The main 1933 building

During the Second World War, many evacuees came to Harrogate from the cities, and the school's roll went up to 900 pupils. To keep pace with these numbers, the school undertook various periods of building expansion, most notably the 1970s addition of a sports hall and gymnasium, as well as music, reflexology and technology facilities.

Sixth Form[edit]

The school has undergone a period of growth in its Sixth Form and now has around 540 students on roll. The increased provision for Sixth Form began in the 1980s when a dedicated Sixth Form block was added.

The sixth form was further extended in 2013 as The Sherwood Wing, named after Mrs Jan Sherwood, a former Sixth Form Director, for her contribution to the school.

The school was named in July 2019 as a computing hub for the National Centre for Computing Education.

Specialist language status[edit]

In 2002 Harrogate Grammar School was given Specialist Language Status. In 2006 the school was recognised as a successful specialist school and was invited to take on a second specialism in technology.

Academy and National Teaching School status[edit]

In 2011, following the government's plans to turn high performing comprehensive schools in the UK into academies, the school was granted academy status. The school operated an independent academy trust until the formation of the Red Kite Learning Trust (RKLT) in late 2015. The RKLT formed as a multi-academy trust (MAT) with partner schools, including nearby primary schools and Prince Henry's Grammar School in Otley who had already been linked through the Red Kite Alliance (RKA), a group of schools through which teaching and learning development is shared.

The Learning Trust and Alliance is based at Harrogate Grammar School and they coordinate events, conferences, networking and School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) through Red Kite Teacher Training thanks to the status of Harrogate Grammar as a National Teaching School.


The current headteacher is Neil Renton who was appointed to the role in January 2019 to take over the post from former head Richard Sheriff in September 2019. Richard Sheriff had been head of the school since 2007, but is due to stay involved with the school closely in his role as CEO of the Red Kite Learning Trust of which Harrogate Grammar is a founding member.[4]


The school shares its motto with the town of Harrogate. "Arx Celebris Fontibus" translated from Latin as, "A citadel famous for its springs".[5]

The new Library and Learning Support Building completed in 2007

House system[edit]

The school operates a House system, introduced in the 1950s. It was later ended but reinstated in 2001. The current houses 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, "with no admission of liability" to a former pupil who stated that Harrogate Grammar School persistently failed to protect him from bullying. In 1999, the pupil and his mother founded the charity Bullying Online, now Bullying UK.[6]

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.[7] 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.[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Harrogate Grammar School" Get Information about Schools. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  2. ^ "HGS rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted". Harrogate Grammar School. 26 April 2022. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Harrogate Grammar School History". Archived from the original on 31 December 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  4. ^ "Mr Neil Renton appointed as new Headteacher - Harrogate Grammar School". Harrogate Grammar School. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  5. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London [u.a.]: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 16. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  6. ^ "Education Bullying victim paid £6,000 by council". BBC News. 1 November 1999. Retrieved 3 February 2007.
  7. ^ "58 (Harrogate) Squadron History". Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2007.
  8. ^ "Yorkshire footballer won VC for attack on German trench". Yorkshire Evening Post. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2019
  9. ^ Campbell, Duncan (8 June 2009). "Andrew Brons: the genteel face of neo-fascism". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2009.
  10. ^ "MEP Andrew Brons to stand down at election". Harrogate Advertiser. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  11. ^ "Stuart Colman, musician and producer" The Yorkshire Post, 26 May 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Squash News". The Northern Echo. 12 January 2001. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Local success in gaining football honours". Harrogate Informer. 16 July 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  14. ^ "Sneak preview: The Year of the Rat", The Yorkshire Post, 11 March 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Swainston Phil". Harlequins Rugby. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  16. ^ "Wood Martyn". Bath Rugby Heritage. Bath Rugby. Retrieved 2 January 2019.

External links[edit]