Ripon Grammar School

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Ripon Grammar School
Ripon Grammar School Logo.jpg
Motto Giorne ymb lare y diowatdomas
(Old English: Eager to learn and seek after righteousness)
Established 1555
Type Grammar school
Day and boarding school
Headmaster Martin Pearman
Chairman of Governors Peter Mason
Location Clotherholme Road
North Yorkshire
Coordinates: 54°08′20″N 1°32′22″W / 54.139°N 1.5395°W / 54.139; -1.5395
Local authority North Yorkshire
DfE number 815/4215
DfE URN 121694 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 852
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses      DeGrey
Colours Navy, Blue & Yellow
Former pupils Old Riponians
Website RGS

Ripon Grammar School is a co-educational, selective grammar school in Ripon, North Yorkshire, England. It is one of the best-performing schools in the North of England; in 2011, 100% of pupils gained the equivalent of 5 or more GCSEs at grade C or above, including English and Maths; the figure has been over 95% consistently since at least 2006.[1] The school was graded "Outstanding" in its 2012 Ofsted report and is listed in the top 50 schools in the United Kingdom.[2][3]


It is a selective school, one of the very few in the North of England (Penrith has the most northern grammar school). It is situated in the north-west of Ripon, on Clotherholme Road.


The school motto is the Old English phrase Giorne ymb lare ymb diowatdomas ("Eager to learn and seek after righteousness").[4][5]


The school was originally founded in Saxon times, but it was re-founded in 1555 during the reign of Queen Mary. Originally a boys' school, the school merged with Ripon Girls' School to become coeducational in 1962. Although most pupils are day pupils from the surrounding area and Ripon itself, there are boys' and girls' boarding houses.

Parents' ballot[edit]

Ripon was the first and only school catchment area in England in which parents voted to keep a selective school in March 2000 by 1,493 to 747.[6][7][8] Even the head of the neighbouring secondary modern school, Ripon College, Paul Lowery was in favour of keeping the selection system as it was, which contributed to the proposal's defeat.[9] The campaign against the school was co-ordinated by Debbie Atkins, who like other local parents chose to send her children to school in Harrogate.[10][11]

To force a ballot, petitions had to be successfully raised. These were allowed from December 1998, and Ripon was the only one out of 39 resulting in a ballot. The cost of administration of these petitions and the one ballot was £437,000. The huge cost of administration came from education officials having to write individually to registered parents at feeder primary schools. In the year of the ballot - 1999/2000 - £216,283 was spent on the petition procedure's administration. The vote was allowed by the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. Unsuccessful attempts at ballots were made in Trafford and Sutton, both being areas with outstanding academic success. North Yorkshire LEA, largely comprehensive, has the best academic results in Yorkshire and the Humber (Kirklees has slightly better A-level results, but has only a few sixth forms).

450th anniversary[edit]

During 2005, Ripon Grammar celebrated the 450th anniversary of its re-founding in 1555. During this year, extensive fund-raising occurred, which has been spent on many projects aimed at improving the school's facilities. One of the most ambitious of these was the building of a sports hall and another was the refurbishment of 6 science labs.

In January 2006 the school was awarded specialist engineering status, which will help fund the improvement of facilities in the science and technology departments.

In May 2006 the school's librarian, Anne-Marie Tarter, was awarded the School Librarian of the Year Award by the School Library Association.[12]

New buildings[edit]

Construction of a new maths and engineering block was completed in summer 2007, housing the maths department with five teaching rooms and an engineering room, used for teaching Design and Technology and AS Engineering. This project was in line with the school's newly achieved specialist engineering status.

In 2008/9 construction began on a new sports hall, as well as a Sixth Form block. The sports hall became possible after 12 months of fundraising, which achieved a total of £1 million made up entirely of donations from parents and members of the local community. Facilities include a gym, indoor cricket nets and a climbing wall. The Sixth Form block is a joint £1 million project between Ripon Grammar School and Ripon College, as well as other local schools. It provides e-learning facilities, laboratories and drama studio space for Sixth Form use, as well as extra common room space.

The new music block was completed by September 2012, providing enlarged and improved teaching spaces and rehearsal facilities for the school's successful ensembles.

Swine flu[edit]

Ripon Grammar School became the first school in North Yorkshire affected by the 2009 swine flu outbreak after a first year pupil was confirmed with the virus.[13] The school was closed following advice from the Health Protection Agency for a period of seven days, beginning on 10 June. All staff, first years and other close contacts were offered Tamiflu treatment. Public examinations continued as scheduled. No further cases were confirmed in students.


  • 1891-5: Rev. William Yorke Fausset[14]

The current Headmaster is Martin Pearman.

Former teachers[edit]

Old Riponians[edit]

Former pupils are known as Old Riponians. Notable old Riponians include:


  1. ^ "Ripon Grammar School". BBC News. 15 January 2009. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Ripon Grammar School
  5. ^ Ripon Grammar School Ofsted report
  6. ^ "Grammar schools reject changes". BBC. 14 July 2004. Retrieved 13 January 2007. 
  7. ^ Ripon vote
  8. ^ The great grammar divide
  9. ^ 2000 Ballot
  10. ^ RCASE
  11. ^ Debbie Atkins
  12. ^ School Library Association.
  13. ^ "Swine flu case closes city school". BBC. 10 June 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2009. 
  14. ^ Bertie, David M., Scottish Episcopal Clergy, 1689-2000, p. 254: "FAUSSET, William Yorke, M.A. b. 1859... Became headmaster of Ripon Grammar School, Yorks. in 1890"
  15. ^ Stephen Castle and Ravi Somaiya "Guardian Names Katharine Viner as New Editor", New York Times, 20 March 2015

External links[edit]