King's School, Pontefract

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The King's School
Kings School, Pontefract - - 225994.jpg
Mill Hill Lane

, ,

Coordinates53°41′07″N 1°19′07″W / 53.68540°N 1.31858°W / 53.68540; -1.31858Coordinates: 53°41′07″N 1°19′07″W / 53.68540°N 1.31858°W / 53.68540; -1.31858
FounderEdward VI of England
Department for Education URN139500 Tables
Head teacherElaine Briggs
Age11 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[1] and was refounded by King Edward VI in 1548.[2]


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[3] and has continued to the present day, although it was relocated in 1932.

Grammar school[edit]

The present buildings were opened on 14 July 1932 by Sir F. Stanley Jackson.[4] 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 2A1 and 2A2, arranged by Surname alphabetically. Thereafter the classes were for example in the 5th form: 5R, 5A1 and 5A2. 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.[5] 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 school converted to academy status on 1 April 2013.


The following have been headmasters:[citation needed]

  • J. G. Peck (1970–77)
  • Alan Aldous (1959–70)
  • John D. Lean was Headmaster after Mr Forrest and before Mr Aldous and died late in 1958
  • Edward Forrest (1939–59)
  • Barbara Tibbets (2017–18)
  • Elaine Briggs (2018–present)


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 Barbara Tibbetts. The King's School, Carleton Community High School and many of the Primary Schools in the two pyramids are now members of The Pontefract Education Trust.


The school's sporting traditions include rugby union (the year 11 team reached the final of the Yorkshire Cup in 2006), and athletics, with some pupils achieving local and national honours.[6]

Academic performance[edit]

The school has above-average GCSE results, the seventh best in Wakefield LEA.[citation needed][when?]

Notable former pupils[edit]

Geoffrey Watkins, Chief Financial Accountant for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs


  1. ^ 'The King's School Endowment'
  2. ^ 'Article on the school from 1932'
  3. ^ 'History of the King's School'
  4. ^ "Opening of Pontefract Kings School in 1932". Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  5. ^ 1978 change
  6. ^ 'King's School Homepage'
  7. ^ "Certification Officer - GOV.UK | David Cockburn". Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  8. ^ Peter Townend, Obituary, The Daily Telegraph.