Harrogate Grammar expands sixth form with new wing

Former head of Harrogate Grammar School sixth form Jan Sherwood at the opening of the new wing, named in her honour. (S)
Former head of Harrogate Grammar School sixth form Jan Sherwood at the opening of the new wing, named in her honour. (S)

To accommodate increasing numbers of students, a new wing added to Harrogate Grammar School sixth form has been officially opened.

Providing an extra four classrooms for the sixth form, with the capacity to accommodate 128 more students, the Sherwood Wing is now open.

Named after former head of sixth form Jan Sherwood, the wing will be increasingly important to the school which is consistently oversubscribed with prospective pupils hopeful of a place.

The Harrogate Advertiser reported in December 2014 that since 2010/11 a total of 384 children have been denied a place at the grammar school, which has an annual intake of 256 pupils in year seven.

Responding to the figures, headteacher Richard Sheriff said the school had applied for funding to expand and meet this demand, as the site is the ‘limiting factor’ in any efforts to enlarge capacity.

The opening of a new wing means that, when students reach sixth form level, they will be provided for at the grammar school, in addition to other pupils from across the district fighting for a place at the school.

The need for increased facilities at the school is due to its acclaimed reputation and academic record, and the sixth form, under Mrs Sherwood, contributed to that.

Mr Sheriff said the school was grateful to her for her contribution to raising the bar.

He said: “Mrs Sherwood had a passion for post-16 education and a deep-seated desire to do the very best for every young person in her care.

“Although keen to offer the best support possible for our high flyers she was also committed to ensuring our most vulnerable learners were properly cared for and had the chance to succeed.

“And her legacy lives on and the naming of the building extension, which ensures her contribution to the sixth form will be remembered by future generations of students.”

Mrs Sherwood worked at Harrogate Grammar School for 24 years and was head of the sixth form for 17 years.

During that time the sixth form went through a transformation to become one of the largest and most successful in the north of England, under her direction.

Mr Sheriff added: “The sixth form continues to develop and now, under the leadership of Neil Renton, it is fast becoming the ‘world class’ institution we want it to be.

“Outstanding results this year, with a record number of Oxbridge interviewees this term, demonstrate the impact of our commitment to academic excellence combined with first-class pastoral care.

“We are very grateful for all Mrs Sherwood did to help the sixth form become the place it is today.”