The History of Helsby High School

The Caretakers (from left): Mr L. Lee; Mr. Neild; Mr. Perkins

The Caretakers (from left): Mr L. Lee; Mr. Neild; Mr. Perkins

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.

This aerial photograph of Helsby was presented to the school after a Naval Air Command visit in October 1971

This aerial photograph of Helsby was presented to the school after a Naval Air Command visit in October 1971

Comprehensive education in the 1970’s brought the removal of the cinder path and the removal of the dividing wall, allowing staff and students to work in a co-educational setting. Additional buildings have been added over time to provide for curriculum changes with additional computer suites, gym and sixth form block.

In 2009 the nearby school at Frodsham closed and students transferred to Helsby and the current building was extended providing new teaching spaces for additional science and ICT work, widened corridors and a break-out space where students socialise on wet days.

The building and curriculum continue to develop in response to the demands of the young people the school serves, with a 6th form e café built in 2015.

The school continues to grow and now teaches 1335 students, whereas the original building was designed for just 720. The values and ethos remain – ‘Achieving Success, Valuing Others’