Highfield School

Highfield School

A Short History of Highfield School

(c)  F.K. Whalley Head 1976-1988


Highfield School Senior and Junior Mixed Department opened on 28 th October 1912. During the first week there were 165 children and three teachers including the Head-Teacher, Mr P. Nuttall.


During these early years, attendance was consistently poor because of infectious diseases, especially scarlet fever and measles. Rarely did the average reach 90% and often it was much lower. During April of 1913 there was one class of 61 children without a teacher. The Board of Education ruling was that there should be no class of more than 60 children.


At the end of the first full year 11 children were presented with a new half sovereign for having full attendance.


25 th November 1915 – The Head Teacher was instructed to present himself at the Drill Hall to help with recruiting.


In these early years there were many records of the temperature being between 40 & 50 degrees Fahrenheit with the Head Master instructing children to keep on their coats. In 1919 the staff made a joint protest to the education committee.


Mr Nuttall retired on the 31 st March 1921.

Mr E. Horner became Head Master from Utley School.


1 st June 1923 Mr W. Davies became Head Master.


5 th November 1930 Mr H. Carter became Head Master


20 th July 1932 The First number of the “Highfield Magazine” was issued. The number contained 7 pages, 250 copies were issued and sold at 3d (old pennies) each.


In 1933 classes still exceeded 50 in number.


During the Second World War there were several instances of air raid warnings interrupting lessons. The cellars were made into air raid shelters.

At night there was Fire Watching in the school.

Mr H.L. Walmsley, the P.E. teacher left to join the R.A.F. and was killed in action. Allotments were started by scholars up High Spring Gardens where vegetables were grown as part of the war effort. The windows were covered with anti blast netting.

Three old scholars won the Military Medal

·         Reg Shilton in Norway

·         Leslie Gill in Libya

·         Norman Robinson in Madagascar

Stanley Powell was awarded the O.B.E. for unselfish devotion to duty after spending 15 days on a raft in the Atlantic.


In 1950 the school ceased to be a Senior and Junior mixed school, and was reorganised as one of the four County Secondary Schools in the borough. Extensive alterations to the building being undertaken at the same time. The Head, Mr Carter complained bitterly about the disruption and delay which lasted many months. The school had about 230 on roll.

Mr Carter retired after 23 years.


Mr F. Walton became Head Master on 6 th January 1954. There were 176 on roll. By 1957 the number had risen to 358.

It was about this time that the school hall was rebuilt.


For the first time in 1959 the school had a fifth form of students who took the G.C.E. examinations and had exceptional successes.

In 1960 the first of 5 West Riding mobile classrooms were erected in the lower playground.

In 1962 the school kitchen was built. In this year Mr Bob Cryer started work as a supply teacher.


In 1967 education in the borough was arranged on comprehensive lines, the 11+ examinations being abolished. By stages the age grouping changed from 11-16 to 11-14 and all children transferred at 14 to Oakbank Grammar School. The school was now named Highfield Middle School (Comprehensive). By now the number on roll was 443.


In 1976 Mr Walton retired after 22 and a half years.


1979 saw the first phase of the final reorganisation into a 9-13 year old Middle School. The Infant Building built in 1896 was taken over.

Children were admitted from St Andrew’s as usual, but from Utley instead of Guardhouse. Most children continued to come here from Laycock. Pupils leaving Highfield, transferred to Greenhead rather than Oakbank. At one stage during this reorganisation the number on roll rose to 585.

Many improvements were made to the Lower Building in 1980-81 and further improvements to the Upper Building started in 1982.


During the 70 years of its existence the School Log Books testify to a long tradition of good education, sports and culture. There is a record of success in all spheres and Highfield has always been well thought of by parents and the community.


Since my retirement in 1988, Mr Peterson was appointed Head Master until the school closed in 2000 as part of another reorganisation which saw the demise of the Middle Schools and a return to the two tier system of pre-1967. The building was demolished and replaced with a community centre and some housing.


F.K. Whalley

Head 1976 - 1988

The Playground 1959

Write a new comment: (Click here)

Characters left: 160
DONE Sending...

Trevor Osborn | Reply 30.06.2019 16.43

Hi did anyone go on a trip to Liverpool to play football my name Trevor Osborn

Nazia razaq | Reply 10.06.2019 12.53

Has any one got any photos from when the keighley news came to school because I had a visit from the mayor of keighley.

david | Reply 11.03.2019 21.50

i was there P.H.U half hearing and half deaf school 1991 very bad school headmaster was cruel if get in trouble it will be cane on hand i was in there for long.

David 11.03.2019 21.52

i glad i left school i was only there for few months then got kick out over fighting with hearing boy as been taking mick of deaf i am sorry but i glad it gone.

George juszczenko | Reply 09.04.2018 16.49

Had a pang of nostagia and started looking through old school sites. Was there 66 to 69. It would be good to hear from anyone around that period..

Mike Nichols | Reply 26.01.2018 07.43

I was at Highfield School 1937-1943. Last teachers Miss Elsie Smith and Miss Cherry . Anyone remember Thelma Dinn of the same years or even anyone at the school

Jill Edmondson | Reply 18.02.2017 01.11

How do I view the whole photo at the very top of this page as it will not expand when I click on it ?

David gruter | Reply 18.05.2016 13.32

Hi Edwin, we left Keighley in 1968 to London. We still live in London now. We have two grandchildren who we adore. hope you are well. Best wishes David.

DavidGruter | Reply 16.05.2016 16.57

To Jan Rotheram,chanette died march2012, she was married, lived near York.i live in London since 1968. Sorry it is bad news. I miss her every day. David Gruter.

Jan Perkins 03.06.2016 13.07

Oh David, what can I say. We were great pals. I remember her giving me a poker stand in the shap of a cannon. I am so sorry as I hoped to find her again xxx

See all comments

| Reply

Latest comments

27.08 | 14:07

She was baptised Desemea Newman, known as Di, Diana, Daisy, etc. She became a novelist as Diana PatricK. I am researching her - please could you contact me?

14.08 | 22:53

I was a pupil at St Andrews from 1984 to 1990
I remember a few names from my days
Mr Pollard, Mr Robinson, Miss/Mrs Purse,

26.07 | 21:51

Hi I went in those years Norman stott in 1c then upped to 2a knew terry and David wood and Ronnie from up fell lane lost touch with all 70 now ha ha

26.07 | 21:42

Just found this whilst trying to find things about the whereabouts of David wood was my best friend but joined merchant navy and lost touch name Norman stott

You liked this page