Penistone Grammar School

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Penistone Grammar School Advanced Learning Centre
Penistone Grammar 2016 view 01.jpg
North side view with the main entrance
Huddersfield Road

, ,
S36 7BX

Coordinates53°31′58″N 1°38′10″W / 53.5327°N 1.6361°W / 53.5327; -1.6361Coordinates: 53°31′58″N 1°38′10″W / 53.5327°N 1.6361°W / 53.5327; -1.6361
TypeCommunity school
Motto"Never Stop Flying"
FounderJohn Clarel
Local authorityBarnsley
Department for Education URN106653 Tables
HeadteacherPaul Crook
Age11 to 18
Colour(s)Black, white and red

Penistone Grammar School is a co-educational secondary school and former grammar school in Penistone, in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England. Founded in 1392, it is the 43rd oldest extant school in England with its most notable alumnus being Nicholas Saunderson, the probable inventor of Bayes theorem, in the 18th century.[1] The school has undergone many expansions, requiring the erection of several buildings, and now houses nearly 1,600 pupils from age 11 to 18. Its current OFSTED overall rating is grade 2 ('good') following an Ofsted inspection in October 2013.


The school was founded as the Free Grammar School of Penistone in 1392, when it is recorded that a gift of land was made by John Clarel, Lord of the Manor at Penistone, for the purpose of a school. Later, the school was situated in the town centre on a site opposite St. John the Baptist Church and across the road from the old Cloth Hall. In 1443 the Free Grammar School of Penistone received further bequests and in 1547, after the dissolution of the chantries, the school continued as the free school for the children of Penistone. Following further endowments, the school was rebuilt in 1702 and enjoyed a considerable period of academic renown under a series of very able Masters. In 1892 the school withdrew from its town centre site to a position about half a mile north-west of the town centre. Around this time the school took fee-paying boarders, had a strong reputation for mathematics and science, and a tradition of sending students to the University of Cambridge. The school remains on this site.

The school was originally an all-boys grammar school, with girls being admitted for the first time in 1907. In the late 20th century the school ceased to be a grammar school, becoming one of the first neighbourhood comprehensive schools in the country. It became fully comprehensive in 1969, with partial selection (for more distant pupils) for a few years prior to that. The comprehensive school initially retained its Grammar school name and traditions such as the house system and speech night. These traditions were gradually scaled back, with uniform downgraded from blazers to sweaters during the 1990s. In 2011, the school restored its traditional house system and uniform, and entirely demolished and rebuilt its buildings in a modern style.

The school motto was traditionally "Disce Aut Discede" ("Learn or leave"), its school colours were traditionally red and black, and it used the coat of arms of the founder, John Clarel, which show six martlets. The school was rebranded in the 21st century, changing the logo. The motto was first changed to "Learning and Achieving Together" and again to "Never Stop Flying."

The school's history is now described in a walkway to the new building, with each road named after points in the school's history.

Present day[edit]

In September 2003 the school obtained specialist status to become a Business and Enterprise College. The school has also received an Artsmark Silver award[2] and has recently been re-certified as an investor in people.

The new £35 million state of the art school building opened on 2 May 2011, with a complete demolition of the old ones except for Fulford and Weirfield blocks. Fulford was ultimately demolished in early 2014 after much protest from past students and locals.

The sixth form at Penistone currently has around 250 students in attendance. As Penistone Grammar School is the only maintained school in the Local Education Authority of Barnsley to have a sixth form, it gives the school an advantage over many of its surrounding rival schools when it comes to 16 – 18 education.

After taking over from headteacher of 5 years Glynis Gower in 2007, Joanne Higgins stood down in November 2017 with Paul Crook taking her place as principal.

List of headmasters[edit]

List of headmasters at Penistone Grammar School since 1392[3][4]
Years Name Education Notes
c.1392–1433 Rev. John Del Rodes Custos of Saint John's Chapel
c.1433–1450 Rev. John Smyth Chaplain
1450–1472 Rev. William Wordsworth Chantry Priest at St Mary's
1472–1477 Rev. William Walker Chantry Priest at St Mary's
1477–1534 Rev. William Addy Snr Chantry Priest at St Mary's
1534–1556 Rev. William Addy Jnr Chantry Priest at St Mary's
1556–1613 Mr John Hyde, MA (Cantab) St John's College, Cambridge
1613–1630 Mr Richard Hey Died 28 May 1630
1630–1632 Rev. Roger Audesley
1632–1644 Mr John Coatehill Died 8 May 1644
1644–1666 Rev. George Didsbury, BA Clare College, Cambridge Died 24 April 1666
1666–1668 Rev. John Revel, BA Christ's College, Cambridge Resigned
1668–1702 Mr Nathan Staniforth, MA (Cantab) Christ's College, Cambridge Died 24 November 1702
1702–1726 Mr John Ramsden Died 12 March 1726
1726–1751 Rev. Jonathan Perkin Christ's College, Cambridge Died 3 May 1751
1751–1776 Rev. Francis Haigh, BA Christ's College, Cambridge Died 15 November 1776
1776–1786 Rev. Joseph Horsfall Resigned
1786–1836 Mr Jonathan Wood Died 22 April 1836
1836–1855 Rev. Samuel Sunderland, BA Vicar of Penistone. Died 18 July 1855
1855–1867 Rev. John Wesley Aldom, MA Trinity College, Dublin Resigned
1867 Rev. Alfred Steane Appointed but never acted
1867 Mr George Curtis Price, BA Appointed but declined
1867–1868 Mr Walter Mooney Hatch, BA New College, Oxford Resigned after a few months
1868–1884 Mr Theophilus Jackson Resigned
1884–1885 Mr Othman Blakey Resigned
1885–1888 Mr Harry Hardy Resigned and became assistant 1888
1888–1892 Mr Lionel Ernest Adams, BA Resigned
1893–1921 Mr Joseph Woodward Fulford, MA
1921–1928 Mr Guy Wilfred Morris, MA Resigned
1928–1958 Mr Eric Fisher Bowman, CBE, MA
1958–1976 Mr Wilfred Burgess Simms, MA
1976–1997 Mr Martin Antony (Tony) Bould, BA
1997–1999 Mr Andrew White
1999–2002 Mrs Pamela Caunt
2002–2007 Mrs Glynis Gower Retired
2007–2017 Ms Joanne Higgins, BA Resigned
2017– Mr Paul Crook

Notable Old Penistonians[edit]


  1. ^ Stephen M. Stigler (1983), "Who Discovered Bayes' Theorem?" The American Statistician 37(4):290–296.
  2. ^ [1] Archived 14 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Dransfield, John N (1906). A History of the Parish of Penistone. James H. Wood (The Don Press).
  4. ^ Bould, Martin Antony, ed. (1992). Six hundred glorious years 1392-1992.
  5. ^ David Hey (2002). A History of Penistone and District. Wharncliffe books. p. 50. ISBN 1-903425-21-2.
  6. ^ [2] J J O'Connor and E F Robertson, Stefan Banach, MacTutor History of Mathematics (University of St Andrews, Scotland, April 2015)
  7. ^ "Heather Armitage - Penistone Grammar School's Olympic Medallist". Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  8. ^ Dyer, Christopher (25 February 2016). "David Hey obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  9. ^ [3] Jean Bacon, an oral history conducted in 2001 by Janet Abbate, IEEE History Center, Hoboken, NJ, USA.
  10. ^ Westbury, Isabelle (25 July 2015). "How England bowler Katherine Brunt shed the burden of bullying to face the Aussies". Daily Mail. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Roberts: 'I've done it the long way round' - Barnsley News from the Barnsley Chronicle". Barnsley Chronicle. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  12. ^ Thomson, Doug (13 May 2014). "Why John Stones' elevation to England's stand-by squad brings pride to Penistone". Huddersfield Examiner. Retrieved 8 April 2018.

External links[edit]