Read School, Drax

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This article is about the British independent boarding school. For similarly named institutions, see Read School (disambiguation).
The Read School
Read arms.gif
Motto Mundana Gloria Vana
(Latin for "Earthly glory is in vain")
Established 1667
Type Independent school
Head Dr John Sweetman
Founder Charles Reade
Location Selby
North Yorkshire
Coordinates: 53°43′56″N 0°58′31″W / 53.732308°N 0.975181°W / 53.732308; -0.975181
Ages 3–18
Houses Dragon, Phoenix and Unicorn
Colours Green and Gold
Website The Read School, Drax

The Read School is a boarding, day, and independent school, based in the rural village of Drax, near Selby, North Yorkshire. Formerly a boys' school, it became co-educational in 1996. As of 2010 it hosts approximately 350 boys and girls between the ages of 3-18, comprising a senior school of approximately 280 and a junior school of around 70 children.[1]


Drax grammar school was founded in 1667 by Charles Reade, who wanted boys from poor families to be able to "read, write and cast accounts" and to teach them "Latin, Greek and Hebrew and other languages as occasion should require".[2]

With the national move to non-selective comprehensive education in the 1960s, the then-voluntary aided grammar school converted to full independence in 1967.[3]

Charles Reade (1604-1669)[edit]

Reade was a shipping magnate based in the nearby port city of Kingston upon Hull. Originally from Darlton in Nottinghamshire, Reade's will also endowed grammar schools at Tuxford, Notts and Corby Glen, Lincolnshire. Only the school at Drax survives into the present day, however the comprehensive school in Corby Glen has carried the name Charles Read High School since 1999.

The school prayer asks students to remember Charles Reade 'and all other our benefactors'.

Present day[edit]

The school is currently arranged across two principal sites in Drax village; the main school site houses the lower junior, junior and senior schools and boys' boarding facilities, while the Adamson House site about a mile away houses the girls' boarding facilities.

None of the original 17th-century school buildings survive into the present day. Instead the core school buildings date from the grammar school era, built in 1853 and 1908. The memorial library was built in 1954 by the Drax Grammar School Old Boys’ Association in memory of those killed during World War II.

Building programmes since then have included the Moloney Hall, a creative arts centre, the Townend sports hall (refurbished in summer 2011), a swimming pool as well as a range of classroom buildings.

Head teachers[edit]

The current head teacher is Dr John Sweetman, who was promoted to the post from his previous role as deputy head. You can read his blog at Former head teachers include:

  • Mr Richard Hadfield M.A. (1996–2010)
  • Mr Anthony Saddler M.A.(Cantab) (1985–1996)

Combined Cadet Force (CCF)[edit]

The school has Army and RAF cadet sections and pupils in Years 9 and 10 are members of one or the other. Although providing a taste of military life, the primary aim of the CCF is to promote and develop powers

In 2010, the school was involved in the 150th anniversary celebrations of the formation of the cadet movement, and was the first school in the north of England to display a banner presented by the Queen in her capacity as Captain General of the CCF. A contingent from the school attended a parade at Buckingham Palace.[4]


  1. ^ Read School Website,[1], 12 July 2010
  2. ^ York Press,[2], 12 July 2010
  3. ^ ISBI Schools website,[3], 12 July 2010
  4. ^ School news article - CCF honor for Read School contingent,[4], 8 September 2010