The document commonly referred to in school records, as ‘The School Charter’ is, in fact, an inquisition by Royal Commission of the year 1622. This, the first complete survey of the property of the school that is fully legible, must form the starting point of an investigation of its origins.
The earliest deed, dating back to 1571, outlines seven individual donors (or families) and one group of four, granted a set of trustees a long list of rent charges and one piece of property for the maintenance of a school master, this document stated the foundation date of the school to 1529. Referred to in the early deeds as, “the Gramar Schole at Byngley,” the schools trustees were set about providing an education for the local young people as outlined below:
“One parcel of land lying in Greenehill within the parishe of Bingley wheron sometime one messuage and garden were scited and three closes of meadowe or pasture in Greenehill aforesaid called Thorne acre Middle close and Narr close were in the Twentyth yeare of the Reigne of King Henry the Eight late King of England assured to one John Milner and others and their heires to have and to hould to them and theire heires in Confidence and trust for the finding of a Schole- master to teach Grammar within the towne of Bingley for ever”
Today the house system is still prevalent with students competing in various house competitions year round. The houses originated from the wealthy benefactors that contributed to the foundation of the school, a brief history of them can be found here >>
With the close of the 19th century the Victorian Age came to an end. In education the “voluntary system” was still the theoretical basis; however state aid and regulation began to transform schools to cope with the demands of a modern world. The central and local state authorities, holding the power of the purse, had for nearly half a century, given particular encouragement to the teaching of science both by establishing special schools and by assisting classes in existing grammar schools.
The school gradually kept expanding due to the growing population. Staff numbers increased to teach the modern subject range that included gymnastics, modern languages including Latin and the arts. In number, the staff size was adequate to cope with the school size however specialist staff were financially unattainable. Traditional subjects like science were still at the core of education, but emphasis was on the modern side; German almost completely displaced Latin and English Literature preserved the Grammar school literary tradition. More attention was also paid to organised games, the field was still let out to a tenant, but a rudimentary cricket pitch was laid out. The school was able to stand up against its neighbours in cricket and soccer.
In more recent years, the school has gone from strength to strength and with an expanding curriculum and increasing student numbers. New buildings have been added over the years to aid specialist subjects in delivering outstanding lessons to the students of Bingley Grammar School.