Obituary for a Grammar School

Obituary for a Grammar School

The plaque with the names of countless students who achieved exceptional success hangs proudly and tells of a glorious past when Batley Grammar School really was the school in which to receive your education.

Founded by the Rev. William Lee in 1612 “to teach and instruct youth and children… and to make such as be capable fit for the university” it became a renowned centre of learning, educating such greats as Joseph Priestly, Sir Titus Salt, Sir Mark Oldroyd, Victoria Cross holder Horace Waller, just to name a few.

The governing body at Batley Grammar School, following much discussion and, with considerable regret, has decided to consult on the proposal not to recruit new sixth form students from September 2015.

But from 2016 on there will be no new names added to this list if plans to close the Sixth Forms as announced by the Headteacher Brigid Tullie come to fruition.

My first reaction was one of disbelief, then horror and then anger.

to teach and instruct youth and children… and to make such as be capable fit for the university

Brigid argues that the capacities are needed for the 7th year places which are heavily subscribed. Where these pupils are going to go when the reach the appropriate age is anyone’s guess.

what has happened to Batley Grammar School?
According to reports there are only 47 pupils left in the Sixth forms. Why this is such might be answered, at least partly, by the most recent Ofsted Report from 2013, which attests that the School “requires improvement”. [Link]

to teach and instruct youth and children… and to make such as be capable fit for the university

So what has happened in the 38 year since I left this centre of learning. what turned this proud school from one of the best in the land into such a shambles in just a few decades?

The school has undergone many changes since then, changing to an independent school, taking in girls (politically correct, I know), founding a primary school, changing back to a public school. It looks like the Governing body has forgotten what this school is supposed to be about …

to teach and instruct youth and children… and to make such as be capable fit for the university

And what annoys me most, is the smug smile (although this pic probably wasn’t taken for the announcement) on the face of the Headteacher in the photo in the Batley News, who tries to sell us this next move as being another postive stage in the development of the school. And on this photo we see the sign to the left of her head “Little Batelians Nursery”. What on earth is a nursery doing in a Grammar School?…

to teach and instruct youth and children… and to make such as be capable fit for the university

It seems that education of infants in the Primary stage is more important than the assignment that the Reverend William Lee set down for it. He must be turning in his Grave. To the people who are responsible for this situation – whoever you may be – shame on you !

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Carlinghow Old Hall

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Carlinghow Old Hall

Oh yes, I remember Carlinghow Old Hall. I used to walk past it every day on my way to school. Although it was a mess, there was no doubt that it was a place of great antiquity.

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  1. It was on its backside 16 years ago when I left. Elderly teachers who couldn’t have given a toss and were just hanging around for their pensions, draconian discipline, a total lack of pastoral care and dreadful facilities. The place has been relying on reputation and the ability of pupuls for years. I wouldn’t send my worst enemy (or more to the point, the child of my worst enemy) there.

  2. Hi David,

    It is sad indeed that this could happen and it could be a sign of worse to come. I have a lovely picture of Batley Boys’ Grammar School hanging in my office to remind me of my past and those before me. My dad was an Old Boy and you will recall my “Uncle” Stuart Archer (actually my dad’s cousin) taught there (and was one my best teachers). My Mum taught at Batley Girls’ Grammar School. I am a couple of months away from retiring from being superintendent of a very large school district and moving on to be a professor at UBC. We should catch up as it has been a while! I limit Facebook to close family though.

    Cheers!
    Steve.

    • Good to here from you after all these years Steve. I will certainly get in touch.

      The worrying thing about all this is that I’ve heard from quite a few people apart from yourself that BGS could be going end up in the forseeable future.

      I wasn’t aware that BGS legend Stuart Archer was a relative (or maybe I just forgot). The last time I saw him was in 2010 when I got back for a school reunion. He was looking well but has aged considerably since our day of course.

      Hope you had a great birthday (now that is one thing I haven’t forgotten).

      Speak to you soon

      Cheers,
      David