The History of Helsby High School
In 1938, ‘building operations were commenced’ for the relocation of the Grammar School for boys and girls to the current Helsby site. Seventy years on, building work is again a major part of school life as Helsby High School prepares for further changes.
The school was originally designed for boys and girls to be taught separately in the Boys’ Grammar School and the Girls’ Grammar School. There were duplicate specialist teachers, administrators and a Headmaster at the boys’ school and a Headmistress at the girls’ school. A cinder path divided the exterior and strict rules were in place to ensure that each group stayed strictly within their boundaries.
Whilst the building commenced in 1938, this was suspended as war broke out in the following year. With the shortage of building materials, the boys’ school was completed in 1940, but the girls’ school was sealed off. In 1941, the building was requisitioned for war purposes and became a hostel. It was not until 1947 that the building was de-requisitioned and in 1948, the Ministry of Education agreed that the buildings should be completed.
In 1949, approximately 170 boys and 170 girls transfered from the Runcorn school into the (to become) boys school at Helsby, which remained a mixed school for a full year. Then in September 1950, the girls school opened and the school returned to being two single sex schools.
Comprehensive education brought the removal of the cinder path and the removal of the dividing wall, allowing staff and pupils to work in a co-educational setting. Additional buildings have been added over time to provide for curriculum changes with additional computer suites, a gym and sixth form block. The number of pupils has also increased to 1,400. The original building was designed for just 720 pupils.
The current building work will address the problems of circulation in the school, provide the teaching spaces needed for additional science and ICT work, have widened corridors and a break-out space where pupils will be able to socialise on wet days. The building and curriculum will continue to develop in response to the demands of the young people the school serves. The values and ethos remain unchanged, ‘Ut Tibi Sic Alis’.