The Holgate Academy

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The Holgate Academy
Holgate School (Hucknall).jpg
Motto "Respect For All. Achievement For All."[1]
Established 1955[2]
Type Academy
Headteacher Mr Neil Holmes
Founder Annie Holgate[1]
Location Hillcrest Drive
NG15 6PX
53°01′58″N 1°13′37″W / 53.032686°N 1.22708°W / 53.032686; -1.22708Coordinates: 53°01′58″N 1°13′37″W / 53.032686°N 1.22708°W / 53.032686; -1.22708
DfE number 891/4016
DfE URN 139956 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Staff c.120[3]
Students c.1300[3]
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses Rufford, Sherwood, Clumber and Thoresby
Colours Green (Rufford), Yellow (Sherwood), Red (Clumber), Blue (Thoresby)
Publication The Holgate Newsletter
Sixth form c.130[4]
Website School website

The Holgate Academy (formerly Holgate School) is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form with academy status, located in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, England, a former mining community north of Nottingham.

The school has a centre for deaf students and the sixth form is part of a collaboration of both the secondary schools in Hucknall.[4] A carved stone cross called a khatchkar was placed in the school by the Armenian government as a thank you for the Lord Byron School which was built in Leninakan (now Gyumri) in Armenia following their 1988 earthquake.[5] The carving was replaced in 2004.


The school was not complete in 1955 but the first students attended that year. The school was named after Annie Elizabeth Holgate who had been a teacher but had entered local politics and she became chair of the local education committee. She married Henry and her son Sidney Holgate was to become a noted mathematician and rise to head Grey College in Durham.[6] Two other schools in Hucknall are named after Ms Holgate.

In 1968, while the school was a secondary modern school, a former headmistress was charged and found guilty of theft and fraud. She pleaded guilty to a number of charges including spending £38 that the students had collected for charity.[7]

The school had been in special measures due to its poor leadership, behaviour and performance in November 2004[8] and it was reported that parents were to take legal action against the school for not dealing with bullying effectively.[9][10] In February 2005, the head teacher resigned and a new head was seconded, initially for a period of one year, from Bramcote Park Business & Enterprise School.

The school was reassessed as "Satisfactory" and was then assessed as "Good" in 2008, although it was noted that the improvement in teaching was not yet reflected in the results and the governing body was "Satisfactory".[4] In 2007 the school successfully attained recognition as a school of Arts[8] and in 2008 took on an Artist in residence, Neil Heath, to inspire the students.[9]

The sixth form did not attract as many students as it should and did not score well in the recent inspection compared with the main school, although this was recognised in future plans.[4]

The school converted to academy status in September 2013 and was renamed The Holgate Academy.


Holgate is a specialist school in the Arts and therefore puts most of its focus and funding on subjects such as Art, Drama and Music. However, as well as the classical lessons of English, Mathematics, Science, Modern Languages, History and Geography, it also gives third year students the option to take Psychology, Sociology, Business Studies, Information Technology and other non-compulsory subjects.[11]

Linked schools[edit]

There are seven schools that are identified as feeders to The Holgate Academy, they are:

  • Edgewood Primary and Nursery[12]
  • Beardall Fields Primary and Nursery School[12]
  • Broomhill Junior School[12]
  • Annie Holgate Primary[12]
  • Leen Mills Primary[12]
  • Bestwood Village Hawthorne Primary and Nursery[12]
  • Hillside Primary and Nursery[12]


Like many schools in Britain, Holgate has been trying to improve the quality of its school meals provision especially as part of a reduction in childhood obesity. However it is notable that the schools menu was singled out for comment in the Brunei Times,[13] and the menus are available online.[14] The school menu also made the British press after the school banned take-away food and saw healthy school dinner take-up rise by two hundred per cent in six months.[15] Holgate was also the first school in Nottinghamshire to begin using 'Fingerprint technology' in the catering; this allowed for students to upload money to an account which allowed them to purchase food in the canteens. This system has been heralded for its use against bullying.[16]

Khatchkar and twinning[edit]

The original Khatchkar that was presented to the school which is now attached to the church in Hucknall.

The school is unusual in having a Khatchkar in its grounds. A Khatchkar is a traditional carved cross which has been used in Armenia since the thirteenth century. The original Khatchkar was placed in the school by the Armenian government in thanks for the Lord Byron School which was built in Leninakan (now Gyumri) in Armenia following their 1988 earthquake at Spitak[5] and opened by Margaret Thatcher.[17] There was a good partnership between the schools largely due to the influence of the rector, Fred Green, from the local St Mary Magdalene church where Lord Byron is buried. The initial reason for the partnership arose because of Lord Byron. Byron was a famous British poet who had shown an affection for Armenian culture when he was a guest of the Mekhitarist Order in Saint Lazarus Island, Venice. The original Khatchkar was installed on 5 November 1991 in a ceremony attended by Kenneth Clarke the then Minister for education.[18] The original stone was irretrievably damaged by vandals in 2000. Fortunately the Armenian government not only replaced it but also caused the original to be erected at the parish church.[5] The new stone by the original stonemason was installed in 2004 in memory of the rector and his belief that the damage should be seen as a strengthening of faith. It was thought that the original stone may have been damaged by football fans who confused Armenia with Albania.[17]

Notable former pupils[edit]

Past pupils of Holgate are known as Old Holgaters.


  1. ^ a b School Homepage
  2. ^ Hucknall Tordard History, accessed 25 September 2008
  3. ^ a b Nottinghamshire LEA, accessed 25 September 2008
  4. ^ a b c d Ofsted report, June 2008, accessed 25 September 2008
  5. ^ a b c Hucknall - the only two khatchkar town in Western Europe, St Mary Armenian Church, Toronto, accessed 25 September 2008
  6. ^ Sidney Holgate, Obituary, 10 June 2003, Times Online, accessed 25 September 2008
  7. ^ Former Teacher admits Frauds, 26 March 1963, The Times, accessed 25 September 2008
  8. ^ a b Holgate's great transformation, Hucknall Dispatch, 18 July 2008, accessed 25 September 2008
  9. ^ a b Back to School, Neil Heath,, accessed 26 September 2008
  10. ^ "I want school to admit they are wrong", Financial Times, 9 May 2003
  11. ^ Holgate School Subjects, Holgate School Website, accessed 2 May 2011
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Holgate School Website, accessed 2 May 2011
  13. ^ School food never this good, John Price, Bandat Seri Begawan, Brunei Times, 17 September 2007, accessed 25 September 2008
  14. ^ Holgaste School dinners online, Nottinghamshire LEA, accessed 25 September 2008
  15. ^ Junk food has had its chips at healthy school, Nottingham Evening Post, 20 March 2007, accessed 25 September 2008
  16. ^ [1], This is Nottingham, 1 October 2010, accessed 29 March 2011
  17. ^ a b Byron festival finale, 16 June 2004, Hucknall Dispatch, accessed 25 September 2008
  18. ^ School visit, Hansard, 1991
  19. ^ [2] Nottingham Young Creative Awards Winners 2013
  20. ^ [3], Mark Spencer MP meets Joan Oliver award winning student, Holly Farmer, 6 December 2013, Mark Spencer MP online, accessed 26 June 2014