Our History

The history of Heckmondwike Grammar School, established 17th January 1898.

The history of Heckmondwike Grammar School, established 17th January 1898.

The Building Committee of the Heckmondwike School Board decided to build a school on the High Street to take up to 900 children on 29th January, 1894. The local Technical Instruction Committee made several key recommendations as to facilities: their Chairman, Arthur Anderton, built close links with the school and one of the school’s buildings is still named after him. The builders were Thomas Horsfall & Co. The original building, consisting of a large hall surrounded by classrooms is still visible in the shape of what is now the Swann Hall, named after a former Chair of Governors.

Mr Cahill was appointed as the first Headteacher in late 1897, and he served in that role until 1924. He was succeeded by Colonel Edwards, who significantly expanded the school facilities during his 24 years in charge: including a library and a gym. Ironically, after the first two Headteachers serving a combined 51 years, Mr Bennett who followed was in post for four years. Also being in post for four years, Mr Kyte took on the challenge until 1956. A physicist, he had been a squadron leader in the RAF during the war. Mr Ford was Headteacher until 1970: a first-class chemist, he was appointed from the post of Second Master within the school. Mr Riddles, a maths specialist, returned the school to the tradition of long-lasting leadership with his nineteen years. His interest in tennis and badminton led to the floor of the Swann Hall being ‘decorated’ with court lines that remain visible. He stepped down as Head in 1989; but maintained his interest in the school as a very committed governor until 2016.

Mr Wilson, a current governor and former Deputy Headteacher of the school, was temporary Headteacher until Mr Tweedle took up post in 1990, overseeing the transition to grant maintained status and beginning the history of school independence that continues today. Mr Tweedle was a highly qualified physicist who saw the school through four outstanding Ofsted inspections. He also significantly expanded the buildings, with new rooms in five subject areas, a Sports Hall and an all-weather sports pitch. The Crellin building, containing five labs, an ICT suite and 11 classrooms, was his final ‘concrete’ legacy. The summer before his resignation took effect saw his supervision of the conversion to an academy in 2010. Mr Cook took over from that point until 2016, another physicist and having served previously as Deputy Head for five years at the school. Mr Bulley was his successor, an historian rather than a scientist. During his tenure the school received a £1.1 million grant to redevelop the old church hall ‘Annexe’ in to a sixth form centre. The resplendent building was formally opened in January 2019 and named the ‘Jo Cox Centre’ in memory of our dear friend and former Head Girl.

Mr Roberts became the 11th Headteacher of the school in January 2019, having previously served 8 years as Deputy Headteacher. A true local lad, Mr Roberts is an old scholar of the school having attended in the 1980s. He comes from a long line of Heckmondwike Grammar School heritage covering 4 generations, having been preceded at the school by his grandmother, father and uncle, joined by his brother and sister and succeeded by his daughter and son who have since gone on to university. To make it a real family affair Mr Roberts’s wife joined the school as a teacher in 2016.