Tercentenary Appeal

The Tercentenary was celebrated in 1897–98, the tercentenary of the establishment of the Governing Body, as the school had actually been closed in 1885, the tercentenary of the granting of the charter. The Tercentenary booklet about the school contained the following statement:

The efforts that are being made to strengthen the financial position of Heath Grammar School have brought to light some misapprehensions as to the status and conduct of the School and the conditions of admission to it. These the Governors are anxious to remove once and for all, and with that end in view wish to call attention to the following points:—

  1. The Heath Grammar School is a Public School. Any one who wishes to send a boy to be educated there can claim admittance for him as a right. Neither the Governors nor the Head Master have power to refuse him, if he fulfil the conditions named below. There are no restrictions, social or religious. The scheme, under which the School must be worked, carefully guards against the exclusion of any one from its educational advantages on account of religious opinions, whilst the considerable number of scholars elected from Elementary Schools, or sent to Heath by the West Riding County Council, is sufficient proof that there is no Social exclusiveness in the conduct of the School.
  2. The conditions to which reference is made above are as follows:—

    1. The boy must be of good character, and
    2. Fairly healthy.
    3. He must reside with his parents of relations, or in some approved boarding house or lodgings.
    4. He must pass an easy entrance Examination.
    5. His parent or guardian must sign and undertaking to pay the School Fees for a term in advance, as the scheme provides.

    These are the only conditions that are, or can be imposed.

  3. To ensure the last of these conditions (see (e) above), a Form of Application has to be filled up and signed, giving name, age, &c., and concluding with these words:—

    I request that the above-named ............ be admitted as a pupil into the Heath Grammar School; and I undertake to conform to all the rules and regulations in force from time to time, to pay the terminal fee in advance, as and when the same becomes due, and to give a full term’s notice before the removal of the said pupil, or pay the tuition fee for one term in default of such notice.

    It will be seen that this agreement is only a matter of business: it provides a security for the fee as is usual in nearly all schools.

  4. As to the religious instruction given in the School, the scheme provides a sufficient guarantee against any denominational bias being given to it. Proper regulations have to be made for it by the Governors (a very liberally constituted body), and by the Head Master, who is also elected without any denominational qualifications: and besides this, there is a strictly drawn “Conscience Clause,” under which any parent may demand exemption for his child from “attending prayer or religious worship, or from any lesson or series of lessons on a religious subject.” But since the re-opening in 1887, at all events, no such exemption has ever been claimed, although boys of almost every denomination have passed through the School.

  5. There is absolutely no restriction, so far as religious opinions are concerned, in the qualifications of the Governors, or in the selection of the Head Master, or in the appointment of any of the Teaching Staff.It is scarcely possible for a School to be placed on a broader basis than Heath Grammar School under its present scheme. Whatever may have been the case in former days, it is not now in any way attached to any particular Church or Denomination.

  6. It may be as well to remind the public of Halifax what the Constitution of the Governing Body is, and how far the management is placed in their own hands. The present constitution (it has been recently amended) is as follows:—

    There are fifteen Governors: of these, Two are ex-officio, namely, the Mayor of Halifax, and the Chairman of the School Board.
    Four elected by the Halifax County Borough Council.
    Two elected by the Halifax School Board.
    Two elected by the West Riding County Council.
    One elected by Victoria University; and
    Four are co-opted by the other members of the Governing Body.

    Previous to 1897, the Governors of various Schools and Charities in the District elected three members, but for these the Representatives of the West Riding County Council and the Victoria University have now been substituted.

    A Body so constituted may well command the support and confidence of all parties. There is an absolute majority of the Governors who directly represent the community which the School serves; and they have further the determining voice in the election of four out of the remaining seven members.

    During recent years Heath Grammar School has been served by men, who, differing on many points in matters of religious and political opinion, have worked harmoniously together for the good of the School. Among other honoured names may be mentioned William Henry Rawson and Nathan Whitley, two great benefactors of the School, the Rev. F. Milson, John Baldwin, J. Whiteley Ward, John Whitley, T.H. Morris, H. Whitley, and Archdeacon Brooke, some of whom are still on the Governing Body.

  7. The Curriculum of this School was ‘modernised,’ that is, adapted in greater degree to the special needs of the district, on its re-opening in 1887, when Chemical and Physical Laboratories were provided, and increased attention paid to Science and Modern Languages. Its aim is now to provide a good education, including Classics, Mathematics, Science and Modern Languages, up to the age of 16, and special training afterwards in either of these subjects, under teachers of the highest qualifications. That it has succeeded to some extent in attaining this aim, the list of Successes for the last 10 years may be taken to prove. The reports on its general work made by the examiners appointed by the University of Cambridge could hardly have been more favourable than they have been.

The Governors in appealing to the Public of Halifax to increase the permanent Endowment of Heath Grammar School are appealing for a Halifax Institution which is crippled in its usefulness by the inadequacy of its resources. As has been already stated, a First Grade School, such as the Heath School is, cannot maintain itself by the Fees which are allowed to be charged. There must be some endowment to provide the difference between the cost of maintenance and the fees that can be charged. No increase of boys would be sufficient to meet the difficulty, unless the majority of them were in the Senior School. The position would be improved if the number in the school were 100 or more, but it would not even then be financially sound. A further increase would involve increased staff, and the difficulty would again make itself felt.

The Governors can suggest no better way of securing the continued usefulness of the School than the modest addition to its permanent income for which their appeal asks.