The 1892 school buildings
|Motto||Sapientia et Statura Proficiamus
(Growing in Wisdom and Stature)
|Type||Voluntary Controlled Academy & Specialist School|
|Local authority||City of Bradford|
|DfE URN||107421 Tables|
|Students||1554 (sixth form of 300)|
|Website||Ilkley Grammar School|
The earliest record of a school in Ilkley dates from 1575, with an examination of the religious beliefs of one Constantine Harrison, schoolmaster, by the church. An endowment of £100 was made by George Marshall in 1601 to fund the salary of a schoolmaster - at the time, one William Lobley. Payments to Lobley were fitful, and the executors of Marshall's estate had to go to law to rectify the situation; the date of settlement of the issues - 1607 - is now taken as the date of origination of the school.
On 2 January 1635, a group of townspeople signed an undertaking to erect a dedicated schoolhouse, and records indicate that by April 1637 such a thing had been built. The building, in Church Street, still exists and is now a listed building, converted into a shop.
A further endowment of £200 was made by Reginald Heber in 1697 - £100 to the school and the same to the parish. However there were complaints over the next 150 years that the proceeds of the endowments were being diverted by successive vicars of Ilkley to other ends, and that the school was underfunded. Its curriculum, according to a report by the Brougham Commission in 1829, was free tuition in reading English, and the teaching of writing and accounts for a small fee. An 1860 report was more scathing; it alleged that few of the children at the school at that time could write or perform elementary sums; the school building and the admission policy were criticised, and the report concluded that the endowments' requirement for free access to all of the town's children "has done much to hinder the establishment of a good school, either for the poor, or the trading middle class, both of whom are greatly in need of one". The school closed down a short time after this report. Proposals by charity commissioners to restart the school as a fee-paying entity were resisted by the town, and came to nothing.
After the passing of the Elementary Education Act 1870, Ilkley elected to avoid the formation of a school board (which would be entitled to levy rates on the population for the provision of schooling facilities) and instead launched a successful voluntary subscription for the erection of new school buildings, opened in July 1872, and known as the All Saints National Schools.
In the same period, under power given in the Endowed Schools Act 1869 to revise the terms and beneficiaries of endowments, a plan was drawn up by an assistant commissioner under the act to divert a number of endowments for the poor of the parish to fund a new school. The plan, for a school for circa 60 boys, paying fees of from £4 to £10 (or up to £40 for boarding), received assent in June 1872. The fruition of the plans was slow; the site of the current school was purchased in 1881 for £2420, and by 1890 a proposed design for a building estimated to cost £6500 had been drawn up. Building commenced in 1892; a headmaster - Frederick Swann, head of Chemistry and Physics at the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle, was appointed in April 1893, and the first boys were admitted in December of the same year.
In September 1939, girls were admitted. Some time after the 1944 Education Act it was established as a county-maintained voluntary controlled secondary school, but retained grammar school status. It was administered by West Riding County Council from Yeadon.
In 1970 it became a comprehensive school for ages 13–18. From April 1974 it was administered by the City of Bradford.
A number of extensions of the school have subsequently been made. As early as 1898, new classrooms and a gymnasium were constructed. Further classrooms were erected in the 1960s; and a major new building programme added 35 new teaching rooms in 2003.
In the summer of 2010 there are plans to redesign and extend the 6th form centre. There has been a grant put forward and plans drawn up, that include an external 'pod' for students to study in.
The 'pod' was completed in the summer of 2010 with the main structure consisting of three old shipping containers. It doubles as both sixth form area and classroom to teach about renewable energy with the power coming from a wind turbine and solar panels. However the plan to move the pod to the new school site has been abandoned due to the cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future program.
Further minor expansion was also completed in the summer of 2011 with the addition of two new English classrooms in the form of a 'portacabin' this was intended to ease overcrowding as the school intake is expected to continue to increase in the coming years.
Notable former pupils
- Sir John Lowther, 2nd Baronet, of Whitehaven
- Alexander Campbell, Editor from 1916-31 of the Daily Mirror
- Major Lewis Kershaw DSO
- Rt Rev Michael Turnbull CBE, Bishop of Durham from 1994–2003
- Ian Dennis (born 1971), BBC sports commentator
- Salmon, Norman, Ilkley Grammar School 1607–1957 (Ilkley, 1957)
- Wood, Peter, Olicana's Children (IGS Publications, 2009, ISBN 978-0956212313)
- The foundation of Ilkley Grammar School from Ilkley.org Wharfedale's community on the web
- Langdale, Thomas, A Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire (1822)
- David Carpenter, Ilkley The Victorian Era, Smith Settle 1986 ISBN 1-870071-01-8
- Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England (1831).
- Beeson, Rosalind, "Four Hundred Years of Ilkley Grammar School" in St. Margaret's Church Parish Magazine, online edition, retrieved 18 July 2008[dead link]
- Hainsworth, D. R., Lowther, Sir John, second baronet (bap. 1642, d. 1706), politician and industrialist, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online, retrieved 17 July 2008
- Smith, Hannah, Georgian Monarchy: Politics and Culture, 1714-1760, Cambridge University Press (2006) p.174
- Olicana's Children 
- School website
- Details from listed building database (337700) 1637 building, Grade II listed. Images of England. English Heritage.
- OFSTED listing for IGS
- Department for children, schools and families listing for IGS
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