Penistone Grammar School - PGS

Foundation of School, 1392
Penistone Grammar School is as much a part of Penistone's identity as Penistone Church, Penistone Market or the railway viaduct. The earliest history of the school is lost in obscurity. Much of the old paperwork was lost or illegible but Penistone Grammar School can trace its roots all the way back to 1392, during the reign of King Richard II. That was not long after the deadly epidemic of the 'Black Death' (1348 to 1351). Aside from the church, there is not much in Penistone with such a link to ancient times.

The Foundation Deed of this ancient school set out that: 'Thomas Clarel Dominus de Penistone (Lord of the manor) in 1392 granted to John del Rhodes and others a piece of land at the Kirk Flatt, with licence to grave turf on the moors of Penistone'. This was on an area of land close to Penistone Church, more or less where the J&B Antiques shop is now. It was defined as (translation): 'So much as extends and lies between five stones placed as bounds by the hands of the above-mentioned Thomas Clarel'. It would have have been a site for the school with shops and houses adjacent. John Dransfield's 1892 guide records the charter of foundation.

The school was at first held in the south aisle of Penistone Church as the chantry school of Our Lady, St Mary, until the school building was finished. According to John Ness Dransfield's great book of 1906, 'A History of the Parish of Penistone', there was an inscription on a stone above the door of the old school with the inscription 'Circiter 1397' and the school motto 'Disce aut discede' ('Learn or leave'), which survived until recent times.

Thomas died by drowning in the River Don on 1st May 1442. The 'Free Grammar School' of Penistone (as it was later called) received further bequests in 1443. After the 'dissolution of the chantries' in 1547, the school continued as the free school for the children of Penistone. In those days, the schoolmaster was not paid by the state but by local funding raised from rents and bequests, etc.

John N Dransfield remarked that it was open to question whether the school would have been called a Grammar School from its foundation but that the school is by far the oldest in the district: 'Many years before Barnsley, Sheffield and Huddersfield began to take up the question of education; indeed in 1397, and for many years after, Penistone would probably be a more important and opulent place than either Barnsley, Sheffield, or Huddersfield'. Referring to the many influential families in the area who were mentioned in school records, he goes on to say that: 'Penistone became a great seat of learning'.

Recorded in the West Riding Directory of 1837:
'The Free Grammar School was found, by an inquisition taken in the 1st of James I., to have been endowed from time immemorial, with several messuages, lands, and yearly rent charges. Since then, the school property has been partly-exchanged. It now consists of several houses, and 22A. 2R. 18P. of land, in Penistone; 5A. 1R. 14P. in Denby, and rent charges amounting to £6. 4s. 4d. per annum. The rents of this property, with about £38 received yearly from Samuel Wordsworth's Charity, yield to the master an annual stipend of £110. The school is free to all the sons of parishioners, for English reading, and the classics, but a small charge is made for writing and accounts. The late master, (Mr. Jonathan Wood,) was appointed in 1786, and held the office for about half a century.'

The first school survived until the time of 1702-6, when Mr John Ramsden was master. A new school was built on the same site and this survived until demolition commenced on 31st July 1893. The site was sold to Sheffield Union Banking Co. Ltd. The next school was built at Wierfield, on the Huddersfield Road close to the latest incarnation. This makes the current Penistone Grammar School the fourth generation, or fifth if you count a few years in Penistone Church.

Further Reading
The current PGS website has a very succinct, three-paragraph account of its history on their Heritage page but the PGS-Archive website has the very best detail and photographs. See also the History Timeline (page on this website) and details from Penistone Almanacks on History of Penistone.


The Government Commission of 1604
Government enquiries in 1604 (James I reign) and 1677 (Charles II reign) give further evidence of the eminence of Penistone Free Grammar School. This is from the 1604 commission:

'All the Stables, Buildings and Gardens, in the North end of the Towne betwixt St Marie-lane and the Cockpit-lane, and beinge the gift of one Mr. Clarel, of Aldwarke, then Lord of the Towne of Pennystone, as appeareth by certain oulde Dedes thereof had and made (that is to say) First, the Schoolmaster's House and Garden. Also one Shoppe and a Chamber in the occupation of one Thomas Waynewright. Also one Cottage and a Garden in the occupation of Uxor Roides. Also the House wherein Ralph Walker latelie dwelte. And three other decayed Almshouses not certainlie rented. Also one House, one Stable, and one Garden in the occupation of Uxor Bower. Also one House in the occupation of Thoams Wodcock. Also one House in the occupation of James Marsden. Also more Lands in the West end of the towne in Penystone aforesaid (that is to saie) First, one House, one Croft, and one Garden in the occupation of Raulph Roder. Also one House and one Garth in the occupation of Uxor Wordsworth. Also the Roughe field Inge in Penystone, in the Schoolmaster's occupation. Also two Closes in the East Field, in Penystone aforesaid, in the occupation of the said School-master. Also two Doles in the Eastfield aforesaid, in the occupation of Uxor Bower. Also one Dole in the Dobbinge Gapp in Pennystone. Also the Balgreave, in Penystone aforesaid, in the occupation of Edmund Neamont. Also one acre and a half in Redbrome, in Penystone aforesaid. Also the Armit Yeard in Penistone, in the occupation of John Baumforth. Also Land in the Hacking, in the occupation of Gregory Wordsworth. Also, a cottage ...
.. (and on and on, with at least as much text again as the above)'

Notice the variable spellings (Pennystone, Penystone and Penistone for example) and the capitalisation of nouns and compass points. In fact, I always capitalised compass points until recently, having been taught that way. Also, the 'Oxford Comma' was much employed.

PGS Schoolmasters from 1613 to 1893
1613 Mr Hey Died 28th May 1630
1630 Mr John Coatehill Died 8th May 1644
1644 Rev George Didsbury Died 24th April 1666
1666 Mr Revel Resigned 1668
1668 Mr Nathan Staniforth Died 24th November 1702
1702 Mr John Ramsden Died 12th March 1726
1726 Rev Jonathan Parkin Died 3rd May 1751
1751 Rev Francis Haigh, BA Died 15th November 1776
1776 Rev Joseph Horsfall Resigned 1785
1786 Mr Jonathan Wood Died 22nd April 1836
1836 Rev Samuel Sunderland Died 18th July 1855
1855 Rev John Wesley Aldom Resigned 1867
1867 Rev Alfred Steane Appointed but never acted.
1867 Mr George Curtis Price, BA Appointed but declined.
1867 Mr Walter Mooney Hatch, BA Appointed but resigned.
1868 Mr Theophilus Jackson Resigned 1884
1884 Mr Othman Blakey Resigned 1885
1885 Mr Harry Hardy Resigned and became assistant in 1888
1888 Mr Lionel Ernest Adams, BA Resigned in 1892
1893 Mr Joseph W Fulford, MA (end of list)
(From the Stocksbridge history archives)

A Time of Minimal Standards
A Charity Commission report of 1827 referred to complaints about the conduct of Mr Jonathan Wood (1786 to 1836). 'The school has always until lately been maintained as a free grammar school ... (etc,)' .Standards had seriously declined. Some time after his appointment, an understanding or arrangement had been reached between him and the trustees - 'that he should not be obliged to keep an usher, but should teach all the children freely in reading, writing and accounts; and the school has for some time past been and now subsists as a school for teaching the inferior branches of learning, viz. reading, writing and accounts only.' The advice was to ensure that his replacement would 'be duly qualified to support the institution as a grammar school.'

The 'New Scheme' of 1887
You can tell they went through some doldrums in the list of masters above. It appears that in 1860s - 1870s something had gone badly wrong. This was remedied by a 'New Scheme' in the hope of restoring a classical education. In the Penistone Almanack of 1891, Headmaster Lionel Ernest Adams, BA, wrote that the school had been '... entirely re-modelled under the New Scheme approved by Her Majesty in Council, on the 28th November 1887'.

The new course of instruction would include: Latin, Greek, French, German, Mathematics, Natural Science, History, Geography, English Grammar, Composition and Literature, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Drawing, Book-keeping, Singing, Drill, etc.

It is not clear when 'Penistone Free Grammar School' started to take in fee-paying boarders, although the 'Free' part might have meant bursaries for some poor but promising boys. Fees for Day Boys in 1891 were: 13s 4d per term (about 66p in modern money), with boys received at half term paying half of the fee. Boarders paid £16 per term, including laundress. Weekly boarders were charged £14 per term. The almanack also mentioned that they hoped to celebrate their 500 years anniversary in 1892 in a 'befitting manner'. I'm sure that they did.

The Fairfield School
School c.1890This picture shows school buildings on the 'Kirk Flatt' site as they were about 1890, not long before they were demolished. The site was sold in 1892. The photographer took this picture for Penistone Almanac from a high viewpoint in the church yard and this is an actual scan of the original (courtesy of The Don Press on Church St).

Dr. Nicholas Saunderson, the celebrated blind professor of mathematics at Cambridge, received his earliest education here and famously learnt to read and write from running his fingers over the carvings on Penistone Church gravestones.

The wall just visible on the left edge of the picture is the old cloth hall, now Clark's chemist. The gravestone on the left is still there but the old gateway is now the lychgate. The old school buildings were demolished in 1893 and a new building built in its place for the Midland Bank. It was Opened in 1895 and it now houses HSBC bank and Robinson's news. Until its removal to the old Rose & Crown, Dransfield & Co.'s solicitor also occupied this building for the best part of a century.

Nearby land was sold for auction in 1903, including the site of an old cock-fighting pit. It is unlikely that cock-fighting was an entertainment for the scholars but more likely that older gentlemen would enjoy betting on the games.

The Weirfield School
In 1892 the school moved to Weirfield House on the Huddersfield Road site and they took in boarders. The picture on the left below shows Wierfield House as it was in May 2011, with all of its inventive wiring. That was in the reign of Queen Victoria and in the year when Tchaikovsky composed the 'Nutcracker'. They would have been called 'scholars' in those days. Girls were admitted in 1907 and the stone-built Fulford building was opened in 1911, shown in the other two pictures below.

Wierfield - 7th May 2011Fulford Fulford

From the Penistone Almanac of 1953: 'A new secondary school - being an extension of the ancient Penistone Grammar School, founded in 1392 - costing £8,000 for the building and £780 for furnishing and equipment, was opened Oct. 28th, 1911, and is recognised by the West Riding Education Authority as a training centre for intending school teachers.'

It continues: 'At the time of writing there are about 550 pupils at the school. Other proposed extensions to cost £24,000 have been postponed'. That was written in a time of austerity about seven years after the end of the Second World War. Food and clothing were still being rationed then.

Fulford was called 'A' block in the 1960s. Weirfield House behind it was the original schoolhouse. It was home to various headmasters (as they were always called) and other people but it was later taken over for staff use. It was still used as the centre of school management (according to the PGS website in the 'noughties'). They knew how to make buildings last in those days.

Penistone was still under the West Riding County Council (WRCC) in those times and the initials could be found all over the school. It was even stencilled under the wooden desks. In 1957, Penistone Grammar School became one of the first in the country to become a 'Neighbourhood Comprehensive School'. In 1974, local governance was radically changed. The old West Riding of Yorkshire was abolished, the new area of South Yorkshire invented and Penistone's fortunes fell under the tender mercy of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC). Our local council was also reduced to having an 'advisory' role with BMBC, with its powers curtailed.

BMBC allowed the school to retain a Sixth Form in 1989 and it became the only 11 – 18 Local Education Authority-maintained school in the Barnsley borough.

The Time Capsule
When demolition of the Fulford Building (aka 'A-Block) finished in April 2014, the last part to go was the main doorway. An unexpected treasure was to be found beneath it by stonemason Jonathan Hunter. It was a Time Capsule. This was a sealed, transparent glass jar, with tantalising glimpses of documents and newspaper within. Mr Hunter reported his find to Kath Eadon, an administrator at the school and the story was circulated in the school. In fact, this website was told of the 'scoop' and went public before the other outlets could report it.

This caught the local interest in a big way and a special opening ceremony was arranged for Saturday 24th May 2014 in a PGS Lecture Theatre. A packed audience observed the official opening. It contained a Yorkshire Post newspaper, a school prospectus and coins. The atmosphere was described as 'electric', with 'oohs' and 'ahs' from the audience, as each item was carefully extracted. The contents were put on display at the school a couple of weeks later.

At the time, the school decided that they would make their own time capsule for discovery in the future. PGS Archive has some details but its Facebook has good photographs of the contents in its albums.

Netherfield Building
NetherfieldThis brief history was adapted from Mrs Connolly's Netherfield page on the earlier PGS website:

Netherfields 'Union Workhouse' was originally employed as the monthly Penistone Rural District Council meeting place, whilst the Urban District Council meetings used other council offices. During its twentieth century use as a residential home for old people, the escapees were easily rounded up at bedtime in 'The Bridge' at Bridge End. Incidentally, Bridge End takes its name from Penistone Bridge, over the River Don. The Netherfield buildings have all been demolished now.

The House System
The old house system of around the 1960s used four locally significant names with these associated colours:
Armitage (Yellow), Bosville (Blue), Clarel (Red) and Dransfield (Green), conveniently based on the letters A, B, C and D.

The house system continues to this day but was extended to five houses:
Saunderson (Yellow), Bowman (Purple), Netherfield (Green), Fulford (Red) and Wierfield (Blue).

These are still current even after the school was rebuilt and opened in 2011. Unfortunately, dear old founding father Mr Thomas Clarel was discarded along with five of his footless birds. Tough times indeed.

The Clarel - Penistone Coat of Arms
Our notable local historian, John Ness Dransfield, describes our coat of arms in his great tome 'A History of the Parish of Penistone' (1906), below. A collection of this and other local history books, church pamphlets and Penistone Almanacks can be found in the 'Dransfield Cabinet' in Penistone Library.

Arms of Penistone

The Coat of Arms belonged to Penistone's Lord of the Manor in the fourteenth century, Thomas Clarel, who gave land on Kirk Flatts by Penistone Church to Penistone, for the purpose of building a school. For six hundred years, it was associated with Penistone Grammar School. Since then, two schools have come and gone on land near Penistone Church before it moved to Wierfield in the early 1900s (see Timeline). The 'new' school continued to use the coat of arms until recent times. After the school moved to an adjacent site (opened May 2011), it invented a new logo but retained only one martlet.

The coat-of-arms is a simple affair with six footless birds (martlets) on a red background. A martlet is something like a swift but with a few tufts of feathers in place of feet (see Wikipedia). It has long been used by the Penistone associations, with typical examples being Penistone Agricultural Society, Pengeston Lodge (Penistone Freemasons) and Penistone Footpath Runners. It can be found above the stage of Penistone Town Hall (Paramount Theatre) but is now obscured by the top curtains and on Penistone Town Council chairman's tall chair in the Council Chambers next door to the Town Hall.

Up to around the nineteen-sixties, PGS badges used the 3-2-1 format but it seems that the 2-2-2 versions below might have been more like the original design. The first variant shown here from Penistone Agricultural Society is the same as on the Town Hall plans, with 'Penistone' marked below. The second was the normal PGS style from the 1960s until recently, with the time-honoured PGS motto: 'Disce aut Discede'.

Penistone EmblemClarel Shield Masonic PFR Logo

The Penistone coat of arms can be found in more places than the Town Hall and Penistone Grammar School's history. The third graphic above is the version used by the Pengeston Masonic Lodge and the fourth is used by Penistone Footpath Runners and Athletic Club, founded 1982. Penistone Church Football Club (founded 1906) uses a logo based on the coat of arms, but featuring only three of the martlets along with a sketch image of Penistone Church.


Reminiscences from the 1960s
Wilfred Burgess Simms was headmaster with Mr Humpston as deputy and Mr 'Killer' Cartwright was head of the younger section. Eric Fisher (EF) Bowman was the head before Wilfred Simms. We used to walk down the road to use an upper hall in Netherfield Church for drama lessons with our teacher, Mr. Keith. This arrangement worked well but there was one occasion when we had to be particularly quiet - for a funeral in the church proper. This church later merged with St. Paul's Methodist chapel, which was demolished and replaced by St. Andrews. Netherfield Church was then converted to flats. Visitors to its neglected graveyard are now discouraged by 'Private' signs, although they have a protected right to visit their departed ones.

The school had a small farm across the road on the end of Long Lane, as we all called it then. Rural Studies were always interesting, with Cllr George Punt in charge and as our Form teacher. George was very inventive with his punishments and on one occasion gave a boy the task of clearing the farmyard of slushy snow - with a pitchfork. he always had a way or making punishments 'value added'. I recall having to shine up some garden tools as my particular burden. Another occasion he had someone whitewash the walls as a punishment. Of course, we had him back - we mated his collection of rabbits in entertaining ways. He ended up with all sorts of fancy breeds as a result. The goat on the farm would eat anything and seemed to have a particular taste for hymn books.

The technology of the day would look quaint to modern eyes. The old copying machine was a 'Banda' machine, which used a reversed carbon paper and volatile spirits. The carbon paper was typed or written on beneath a sheet of ordinary paper to make a mirror-image. Each copy became weaker until you could hardly read it. Photocopiers did not come into general use until the 1970s and they were rather poor even then. One projector at PGS was an antique old episcope, with a cast-iron frame. It could project the teacher's notes underneath it on to a screen. A version of that machine could also project large glass slides on to a screen but we never saw it in use. That was called an 'Epi-diascope'.

Sometimes the classes were subjected to film shows made by such as BP or Esso. they were shown using a clattering old film projector that drowned out any remarks from the teacher - or the taught. Those were usually interesting films and a great relief for the harassed teacher. Video had not yet arrived. In fact the first video machines for industrial use were only just becoming available at that time. (I had an old Peto-Scott video recorder in the 1970s)

In those days, the initials 'WRCC' adorned objects large and small and probably under every desk. Those were the days of West Riding County Council, administered from Wakefield. In the Local Government Re-organisation of the early 1970s, the West Riding was officially abolished as an administrative region and WRCC went with it. That removed it from the maps but the name continued in many ways, as it does even now. Educational control was transferred to Barnsley Council after that. Some of the desks in our first year were very old indeed and must have come from a junior school as they were one-piece seats with desks but far too small. They had ink wells but these were not in use.

PGS 2003 Logo - not clickableNetherfield viewed from near the cop shopAround 1956
PGS 2007

In the 1960s, the PGS buildings ('blocks') were all called by a letter rather than a name. The stable block ('C' block) near to Wierfield House was reconstructed in 1900 but it was used as Spurler Jagger's woodwork room in the 1960s, with a science room next to it. Spurler was a fine old teacher with a very relaxed manner and a great sense of humour. If he burped, it was "Pardon my excuses". Nothing ever seemed to trouble Mr Jagger and all the lads liked him.

The Bowman building and the Large Hall/Gymnasium opened in 1956. New playing fields and temporary 'E' block (prefab 'terrapin') buildings were added across the main road, in 1960. More new buildings arrived in 1968; the Saunderson block and a new Hall and kitchens. Also that year Fulford block had alterations and the conversion of old kitchen and dining rooms. 'E' block was removed in the 1990s. 'Temporary' lasted a long time in those days.


Demolition and New Buildings
Starting in 2009, a major rebuilding programme took place to enlarge the school and introduce the latest facilities. It took nearly two years to complete. A downloadable pdf document from the school portal (no longer available) explained the philosophy behind the new school:

'We hope to provide the community with a social hub, to unite the neighbourhood and evoke a sense of local pride'. Also: 'Penistone Grammar ALC will play host to a range of events, in the social, cultural and business sectors'.

In the process, buildings which were put up in the 1960s and 1970s were demolished but the stone-built Fulford Building ('A - Block') and the historic Wierfield House were left standing with boarded-up windows. In the spring of 2012, a 'For Sale' sign went up and news spread of the likely demolition of both buildings to make way for a more lucrative use of the land. Barnsley council had verbally assured Penistone Town Council that this would not happen (reported in 16th April 2012 meeting). But this was not to be.

Local resident Sarah Catterall single-handedly started a campaign to 'Save Fulford' and submitted the building to English heritage for it to be 'listed'. Even Penistone Town Council has words of encouragement and support for her campaign. See the facebook link below to follow this.

Unfortunately, Barnsley Council took no interest in the building and developers could not find a use for it. Although an attempt had been made to have Fulford Building 'listed', English Heritage reported that it was not special enough, except for a sentimental attraction to local people and they could not list it. The Clarel Coat of Arms over the main door is planned to be retained as a feature in a new housing development on the site. Wierfield House is to be retained and used in some way.

The New School Buildings
The new buildings were erected lower down the hill than the old ones but with a boxy, multi-coloured architecture. A new footbridge with rusty martlet motifs was installed near to the 'old' footbridge which was removed in April 2011. The new bridge will probably look good when it is finished (joke).

PGS FoyerI might not like the exterior much but the reception area looks quite good, with a bright and breezy feel. This picture of the foyer area was taken with the kind permission of the receptionist (on the proviso of avoiding children in the picture). There is a small room off the picture to the right which is used for exhibitions, etc. I hope to visit more of the school but any further photographs would be taken with PGS permission and no pupils present.

The school (yes, it is still a school) is fitted out with the latest teaching facilities and well set up with sporting facilities, which include: a floodlit synthetic turf pitch, sports hall, tennis courts, gymnasium/dance studio (for such as zumba, yoga, pilates and circuit training) and a fitness suite with a 'Technogym Wellness System'.

You might also expect the school nurse to be called the 'Wellness Person'. The public can pay to use these facilities outside school hours. Classrooms and lecture theatres are available for hire outside school hours. All in all the new PGS has facilities which are a massive improvement on the old school.

This school picture from March 2011 was taken from the Trans-Pennine Trail, just before the old Netherfield buildings were demolished. That's Emley Moor transmitter tower in the background. Since then, the historic stone Netherfield buildings were unceremoniously demolished (like Penistone lock-up in 2010). A wide stairway and suitable landscaping have now completed the new PGS aspect.

War Memorial
The old war memorial plaque from Fulford Building was renovated and re-sited at the new school with an accompanying small ceremony for invited officials. It was to be sited in Penistone Church but strong opinion in the Barnsley Chronicle demonstrated resulted in its reinstatement at the new school, on a grassed area by the entrance to the car park. Most of Penistone Town Council agreed with this and the move went ahead. Now there is an annual Remembrance Service by the memorial, attended by local dignitaries and the public on the Friday preceding Remembrance Sunday

PGS March 2011

Teething Troubles
With such sweeping changes to PGS, it was perhaps inevitable that there would be trouble to begin with. Tempers initially ran high. In the summer of 2011, parents complained about a series of issues concerning PGS, including management style, uniform, discipline issues and the new dress code for older pupils. Everything looked to be going off the rails. Complaints were made that PGS management would not listen to legitimate concerns and a group was formed 'Concerned Parents and Pupils of Penistone Grammar School'. It did not last very long as the variously alleged issues either faded away or were dealt with. None of the complainants ever used the 'ALC' title in their letters to the press or on local radio (which at that time had live interviews about the issues of the day).

Continuing their grumbling, some parents commented in the press about a new school day which had been made earlier than before, at 8.20am to 2.50pm. They said that it conflicted with working day arrangements and might leave schoolies loose on the streets after school. At around the same time, research on sleep patterns of teenagers was topical and concluded that pupils worked better with a much later start to the day. As with the other issues, the matter blew over very quickly. It was likely that some parents found the new times advantageous. To set matters aright, the senior manager robustly defended her new policies when interviewed on local radio, Penistone FM.

Of course, not all remarks were negative and there was some high praise heard for the new facilities. People always notice complaints more than praise, which seems to have a shorter shelf-life. After a few months, things settled down and the issues evaporated as parents and their charges adjusted to the new regime.

The 'Advanced Learning Centre' (ALC) Name- and its Defeat
Facilities at this new £35 million, state-of-the-art school were first opened in May 2011, marking a major milestone in Penistone Grammar School's history. Along with such a major change came the inevitable pressure to re-brand, which so often afflicts businesses these days. In theory, the new facilities would take it beyond its basic utility as a school, with such as: conferencing, a 'well-being' service, gymnasium access and expanded community access.

A proposal emerged from Barnsley Council to dispense with the PGS name and call it: 'Penistone Grammar Advanced Learning Centre' (ALC), in keeping with similar organisations elsewhere in the Barnsley Borough. It was not to be.

For the name-change to be legal and binding, unanimous approval from the School Board of Governors was a legal requirement. The meeting was held but agreement was far from unanimous and the old name of Penistone Grammar School was retained as the legal and proper name. the 'ALC' bit was an optional extra but an official part of the name.

Despite this, some BMBC factions persist in using the PG-ALC name as much as possible in the hope of it becoming the de-facto name through common usage. This has largely succeeded in the press and local radio (with its council connections), but the public have not so far taken to using the new, unofficial 'ALC' name. From a legal point of view, the school's proper and full name continues to be simply: 'Penistone Grammar School', as before.

'ALC's Anonymous.
A way to see the ALC appendage might be to regard it as a description of the school's functionality rather than its name. That might be useful in the same way that go-faster stripes on a car imply better performance but you would never refer to the car simply as 'The Go-faster Stripes'; you would use the name of the car. Of course, you can't be sure how effective is the teaching, so it might be better described as 'Advanced Teaching Centre' - ATC. A humorous connection could then be found with the current 'Never Stop Flying' motto, seeing as ATC also stands for 'Air Traffic Control'. Perhaps that is why they did not use it.

This is only my personal opinion but I regard the ALC's utility, as a name, to be somewhat limited. Also, 'Pee-Gee-Ess', trips off the tongue much more easily than 'Pee-Gee-Ay-El-Cee'.

School Motto
The school's ancient Latin motto 'Disce aut Discede' was inscribed on a stone above the doorway of the old Fairfield school. The stone was moved to an equivalent position in the then 'new' Wierfield school, on what we know as the Fulford Building. It had also featured for a long time on various incarnations of the school uniform badge. The motto translates as "Learn or leave". My version is "Get some work done or clear off".

The motto was re-branded in 2003 as 'Learning and Achieving Together.' You might reasonably expect the role of the teachers as more 'learned' than 'learning' but the new motto did not require a classical education to understand it. In 2011 the school controversially changed its motto again to: 'Never Stop Flying', to the puzzlement of many at the time, including local councillors who did not quite get it. Heraldic birds on the Clarel/Penistone Coat of Arms don't have feet and cannot land, so they and the pupils can never stop flying. Boom boom! Give that man a chocolate egg!

The new logo has also lost five of the heraldic birds to be out of step with everyone else's use of the Clarel coat of arms in Penistone, including Penistone Agricultural Society, Pengeston Masonic Lodge and Penistone Footpath Runners and Athletic Club, to name a few. Such is what happens with re-branding. One wonders what will happen next time.


Some Old Info
1992 window2000
Pupils: 1,333 plus 250 in the sixth form (16 y.o. and older).
Call them 'students' if you like but they are still pupils, just as railway 'customers' are still passengers. It is probably better to call them students when they go into education by choice and not by statute.
Number obtaining 5 GCSEs at grades A, B or C: 53%

2002 PGS Visit to Huddersfield Uni
PGS students recorded a jam session (WMA 813kB) during their 2002 school visit to music technology studios (Engineering Dept.) of Huddersfield University.

2008
The PGS website gave about 1600 pupils and said that they accepted 270 pupils in each year (yrs 7 - 11).

The Reunion 1992
The big 600th Anniversary of PGS came along in 1992 and was celebrated with a number of activities under the guidance of headmaster Mr. Bould (whom I mistook for a caretaker). A new window (shown on the right) was installed in Penistone Church in 1992 to celebrate the anniversary.

A big reunion was the main event, grouped into the years when people left school. Mr Bould gave a very fine speech at this hugely enjoyable event. As a spin-off from this, other smaller reunions occurred. People in my year organised a few get-togethers in a local pub and my thanks go to Lynn Harvey (nee Harley). It was a great pleasure to meet up with some old schoolmates whom I had not seen for a very long time. Some of us are talking about having another special re-union for a milestone year that will drop in 2012. I'll let you speculate on what might be special about that year.


Contact:
Penistone Grammar School
Huddersfield Road
Penistone
Sheffield
S36 7BX

Email: pgs@barnsley.org
Tel 762114, 765076, 765077
Fax 370328

Links:


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