King's School, Pontefract
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|The King's School|
Mill Hill Lane
|Founder||Edward VI of England|
|Department for Education URN||139500 Tables|
|Head teacher||Mr Pinto (acting head teacher)|
|Age||11 to 16|
The King's School is a coeducational secondary school with academy status, located in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England. It is one of the four oldest schools in Yorkshire, dating from 1139 and was refounded by King Edward VI in 1548.
King's School Pontefract was founded in 1139. Little documentation survives from its early years, and it was refounded in the reign of King Edward VI. It has been associated with the Duchy of Lancaster since 1588 when it was given an endowment to allow it to continue functioning. In 1792 it was refounded yet again by George III who is the eponymous king. Annual payments of £50 were made by the Duchy of Lancaster until 1869. It closed in the 1880s but reopened on 4 May 1890 and has continued to the present day, although it was relocated in 1932.
The present buildings were opened on 14 July 1932 by Sir F. Stanley Jackson. It was a boys' grammar school with around 650 boys, operated by the West Riding County Council. Four houses were formed, each associated with a name and a colour. They were Atkinson (yellow), Lyon (blue), de Lacy (green) and King Edward (red). Classes corresponding to years were numbered from 1 to 5 with three streamed classes in each year from and including Form 2. Upon entry to the school boys were placed in classes 1A, 1B and 1C ordered by surname alphabetically. In the second form streaming started with the top 30 rated pupils being placed in 2R (R for Rapid as year 3 was skipped by these pupils, passing directly to 4R). The other classes in the second form were 2A, 2B, 2C based on academic level. Thereafter the classes were for example in the 5th form: 5R, 5A, 5B. All pupils had a form master and went to classes with specialist Teachers. There were not enough rooms for all classes to have a form room - some of the upper sixth form used to have the corridor outside the dining room as their form room. Only a few pupils stayed on for the sixth form, many pupils left the school at 16. It was expected that the R-class pupils would go on to the sixth form. The Grammar school had a tradition of playing Rugby Union and there were fields outside for this purpose, which were converted for cricket in the summer.
The school became a comprehensive with a sixth form in 1978. Pontefract Girls' High School, the girls' grammar school became New College, Pontefract, and 11-18 school. In 1987, Pontefract schools lost their sixth form, with a sixth form college being established at NEW College, Pontefract.
The following have been headmasters:
- 1548 John Stagg
- 1585 Lyonell Naylor
- 1593 John Marshe
- 1593 William Hartley
- 1622 Arthur Bromeley
- 1622 Thurston Elliott
- 1654 Thomas Lake
- 1662 Thomas Hunt
- 1672 Joseph Swift
- 1685 Nathan Drake
- 1689 Thomas Atkinson
- 1697 Thomas Horwood
- 1705 Thomas Horwood
- 1713 Francis Lassells
- 1737 Richard Harrison
- 1742 William Holmes
- 1778 Miles Steadman
- 1793 James Bindloss
- 1806 James Dixon
- 1807 Archibold C Campbell
- 1822 Pattison Watman
- 1851 Samuel W Newbald
- 1869 Thomas Longley
- 1874 Henry Caukwell
- 1889 Thomas H Nichols
- 1918 Edward B Forrest
- 1939 John D Lean (Died late 1958)
- 1959 Alan Aldous
- 1970 J. Gavin Peck
- 1977 Mrs Joyce Grace (nee Pickersgill)
- 1985 V.S Kenningham
- 2000 Julie Craig
- 2013 Barbara Tibbets
- 2018 Elaine Briggs
The school is currently situated on a raised area near Ackworth Road in Pontefract, along Mill Hill Lane, southwest of the town centre and the A645/A639 crossroads. There are over 1,000 pupils, 55 full-time and 8 part-time teaching staff with a similar number of additional staff. Its current headteacher is Elaine Briggs. The King's School, Carleton High School and many of the Primary Schools in the two pyramids are now members of Pontefract Academies Trust (previously, Pontefract Education Trust)
Notable former pupils
- Derek Birdsall, graphic designer, who redesigned the Book of Common Prayer in 2000
- Ken Booth, E. H. Carr Professor of International Politics from 1999 to 2008 at Aberystwyth University
- David Cockburn, the Certification Officer for Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations since 2001, and Chairman from 1983 to 1986 of the Industrial Law Society.
- Paul Dibb, Director of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University (1991-2004), former Deputy Secretary of the Australian Department of Defence (1989–91), Director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation (1986–89), and Head of the National Assessments Staff for the National Intelligence Committee in Canberra (1974–79).
- Michael Eaton, former chief spokesman of the National Coal Board during the miners' strike
- Scott Grant KCB, Chief Royal Engineer from 1999 to 2004, Quartermaster-General to the Forces from 1998 to 2000, and Colonel Commandant from 1997 to 2004 of the Royal Engineers
- Peter Howdle, Professor of Clinical Medicine from 2006 to 2009 at the University of Leeds, and Professor of Clinical Education from 1996 to 2006
- Henry John Poskitt, Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds from 1936 to 1950
- Rich Johnston, cartoonist, writer and journalist
- Simon Thorp, Viz cartoonist
- Peter Townend, former social editor of Tatler
- Alan Murray, the Hoare Chair in Responsible Management at Winchester Business School 2012 onwards
- Nick Revell, stand-up comedian and scriptwriter*
- Geoffrey Watkins, Chief Financial Accountant for HM Revenue and Customs
- 'The King's School Endowment'
- 'Article on the school from 1932'
- 'History of the King's School'
- "Opening of Pontefract Kings School in 1932". pontefractus.co.uk. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
- 1978 change
- 'King's School Homepage'
- "Certification Officer - GOV.UK | David Cockburn". certoffice.org. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
- Peter Townend, Obituary, The Daily Telegraph.