The school was built in 1957 as Thirsk Grammar and Modern School.

The school was built in 1957 as Thirsk Grammar and Modern School. Although it now accommodates over 900 students (a figure that is set to rise substantially over the next 6 years) it was built for approximately 700 students. Though it has been enlarged and developed since 1957 the narrow corridors give an insight into the original size of the school. Initially students who passed the 11+ still went to the Old Grammar School about 200 yards down Topcliffe Road (now Sowerby Primary Academy), though they shared facilities with the new school for lessons such as PE and Music. In 1960 the Old Grammar School became the Junior School and everyone of secondary age was educated at the school we now know as Thirsk School and Sixth Form College. As the only secondary school in the town the school serves most of the children in the area. Many of our students are bused to school each day from Thirsk’s surrounding villages.

Throughout its history the school has always had a rich tradition of extra-curricular activities. Today the school is proud of its German exchanges, Music tours, Sports trips, Duke of Edinburgh scheme, Dramatic productions, The Falcon newspaper and debating heritage as well as a full programme of weekly clubs, ensembles and leadership opportunities that is offered. These build on the days when students competed in ‘Houses’ in a similar range of activities. The ‘House’ names of Kestrel, Peregrine, Hobby and Merlin took their inspiration from the school badge which features our distinctive falcon as well as the school crest and motto, “Victor Qui Laborat”. The message that hard work brings success is one that we adhere to today and the culture and values of the school are deeply embedded. It is a place where everyone is valued and we celebrate success in as wide a way as possible.

The reason the school’s values are so strong is that since 1957 the school has only had five Headteacher who in their own ways have sought to build on the strengths of their predecessor. The first Headteacher was Stephen King, who wrote a book about his experience leading the early years of the school’s life entitled ’10 Years All In’. His successor Robert Murmaghan led the school through the 1980’s before Christopher Lewis took over at the helm for over 20 years. His successor Stuart Mason was also a long serving Headteacher, leading the school for over 9 years before Emma Lambden became the first female Headteacher of the school at Easter, 2018.

Over the years the school has helped to forge and shape the lives and careers of many people who have gone on to eminence in their work. We have always stood by a balanced curriculum that offers students an all-round education for whatever pathway becomes important to them. Our students take opportunities in local employment, often in trades, agriculture or engineering, and many further their education in Colleges, or at University. Every year we send two or three students to Oxford or Cambridge. Recently we’ve enjoyed the sporting achievements of two bowlers who have represented Yorkshire County Cricket Club, ex-students Karl Carver and Ben Coad. Maybe you’ve listened to ex-student Ben Hollingsworth drumming for Bruno Mars?  Or perhaps you’ve watched in awe as Jasmine Harrison completed a world record solo traverse of the Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat, before she swam the length of the British Isles!

The school has a rich history. Our buildings may be old, and might never win beauty prizes, however, for our staff and students and the many families in the town that have had several generations educated at the school, we continue to take great pride in being at the heart of our community.

thirsk school historical newspaper
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