Heckmondwike Grammar School entrance exam registration now open

Heckmondwike Grammar School (HGS) is a non-fee paying state grammar school and one of only a few in the North of England, writes Peter Roberts, Headteacher.

It provides an outstanding education to students aged 11-18 and is ranked 7th in the North in the Sunday Times Parent Power survey. Because of the excellent opportunities it provides, students travel from far afield with many students commuting across West Yorkshire to gain a place. There are excellent public transport links and an increasing number of dedicated coach services, particularly from the Leeds area.

I am a former HGS student myself and 4 generations of my family have attended, most recently my own two children. Therefore, I would like to think I am a good judge of what a school should offer both parents and students.

Here are my top questions to ask a school and the answers you get at HGS:

Heckmondwike Grammar School provides an outstanding education to students aged 11-18
Heckmondwike Grammar School provides an outstanding education to students aged 11-18

Will my child be well looked after?

This should be the first question for any parent to ask. At HGS, every student will meet their tutor first thing in a morning. This will be the opportunity to solve issues, have a chat with individuals and the form group and ensure everyone is well prepared for the day ahead.

Following this, students will receive 5 hours of exceptional teaching, provided by graduate subject specialists all trained to support students in whatever way is required. Heads of Year and dedicated Achievement Coordinators are a further layer of pastoral and academic support, all working as a team to ensure students feel safe, happy and confident in school, so they go on to achieve their full potential.

We also have excellent catering facilities offering a wide range of menus, cooked freshly on site catering for all dietary requirements.

The school ranked 7th in the North in the Sunday Times Parent Power survey

Will my child enjoy being at school?

Typically, if students feel safe, happy and confident, they will enjoy their time. However, our students are very academically able, so need to be constantly challenged, and opportunities provided to take them out of their comfort zone.

All our students report they enjoy the academic challenge in lessons, where we teach to a level which stimulates debate and depth of critical thought, where there is a daily expectation our students will always strive to be the best they can be.

To support the academic rigour of the school we expect students to work hard but also, and this is hugely important, to play hard. We provide a plethora of extra-curricular activities of all descriptions, from most sports, to music, chess, subject clubs, drama, debating…… the list goes on and grows each year. Indeed, students are encouraged to set up and run their own societies and I have a discretionary fund to support such activities.

If students feel safe, happy and confident, they will enjoy their time at school.

The fantastic House system adds an important element of competition to many of these activities. Every year we have an excellent track record of success in district sports events, with some students going on to represent at county level and beyond.

Behaviour in school is excellent, as befits a grammar school and the ambitions of the students and parents.

Will my child get good exam results?

Whilst we pride ourselves on providing an outstanding, rounded education for all our students to develop them into responsible young adults, we do have an enviable track record of examination success at both GCSE and A level. Supporting the staff in delivering outstanding lessons, we have excellent facilities, including industry standard laboratories and workshops, a fully equipped performing arts studio, outstanding subject based classrooms with the latest ICT facilities and superb sporting facilities including a full sized astroturf pitch, sports hall and extensive grass pitches.

Our students are very academically able, so need to be constantly challenged.

At GCSE, our mean grade is 7.5 and on average, in all subjects, students achieve approximately 2/3 of a grade higher than they would be expected to, given their prior attainment. This is outstanding by anybody’s judgement and places the school in around the top 10% of all schools nationally.

At A level, we offer nearly 30 subjects and our classes are made up of students who have completed their GCSEs with us and roughly an equal number from other schools across West Yorkshire. The high levels of success allow our students to progress on to the top universities including high proportions to Oxford and Cambridge, with overall, over 90% entering higher education or high calibre apprenticeships.

Our dedicated careers team, with many years of experience and a wealth of contacts, support our students in making the life changing decisions, which decide the direction of their futures.

Will my child be offered a place?

Entry to the school is either to start year 7 or start year 12 A levels. Entry to year 7 is via an entrance examination, which is always held in the September before the year of entry.

This year’s exam is on Monday, September 13, 2021, for students who then will be in year 6, and if successful will start at HGS in September 2022. The entrance exam is comprised of multiple-choice questions and tests a range of reasoning skills.

The school has an enviable track record of examination success at both GCSE and A level

Typically, successful students are in the top 25% national rank of academic ability. Approximately 90% of students live outside of the Heckmondwike area, and this is an indicator of the desirability of the school for parents and students who are prepared to travel.

Entry to year 12, to study the exclusively A level program, is based on GCSE grades and again we aim to enrol the more able, who will thrive on the rigours of the academic courses.

Final thoughts

Before deciding a place for your child, please do ask these questions to Headteachers of other schools, before deciding which school will best cater for their needs and ambitions. If you think HGS is the right school for you, I invite you to view our virtual open evening and look forward to receiving your registration for the entrance exam by the deadline of 12 noon on 28th June 2021.

If you have any questions you would still like to ask, please don’t hesitate and contact me via email at [email protected]