125 years of Heckmondwike Grammar School

Birthdays come and go, but it is not everyday you are 125 years old. On the 17th January 2023, Heckmondwike Grammar School has reached that milestone.

During this period, there have been 30 Prime ministers, 11 Headteachers, 2 World Wars and a global pandemic, to name just a few of the historical happenings.

Back in 1898, when the school opened, it was initially called Heckmondwike Higher Grade School and encompassed senior and infants’ sections. The secondary section then became known as the School of Science, when the infants were moved to an alternative site. Only later, in 1929 was the school re-named as Heckmondwike Grammar school. Back then the school served a very small, close knit textile town of Heckmondwike, where students and typically staff walked to school, living and working together. Now in 2023, the school serves a much wider area, with many of the 1500+ students travelling from the outer reaches of West Yorkshire and indeed a few from even further afield. Staff now number over 180 and similarly some travel long distances to work at the prestigious school.

Over the 125 years, the school has remained on its High Street site and the original building is still fully intact and has a prominent vista overlooking the town. Behind the Victorian façade, the school has tastefully been extended to now provide state of the art facilities to students.

To formally mark the anniversary, the whole school community, made up of approximately 1700 students and staff, depicted “HGS 125” on our Multi Use Games Area. The event was captured by drone to create this video. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.

Today marks the start of a number of planned celebrations in school, with the cutting of a cake at lunchtime and the launch of the aforementioned video, all serenaded by all day HGS radio being presented by students with 125 years of music. Later in the year there are planned open events for everyone to join the celebrations, including a display of 125 years of HGS artefacts.

There will have been many ups and downs in the life of the school, particularly through the turbulent periods in history, but the school has never been in a stronger position, ranked No.2 in the North of England and in the top 20% of schools for top A level results. Indeed, as current custodians of the school we have never been better placed to welcome future generations, and for them to take advantage of all that the school has to offer.