Trinity House Academy in Hull was founded in 1787 as a marine school for boys destined for careers at sea, and taught navigation and other maritime skills. It was run by the seafarers' charity and guild Trinity House, and has remained boys-only and linked to the organisation ever since.
Initially private, it later entered the state sector as a technical school and has been a comprehensive academy since 2014, thte year after it moved from its Victorian site to the old Hull Nautical College buildings after they had been vacated by the University of Lincoln.
Pupils still wear naval-inspired uniforms, maritime studies remains on the curriculum and activities such as sailing are available.
Now the city's only all-boys school has announced it is planning to admit girls, relocate to new premises and significantly expand its pupil numbers to serve Hull's growing renewable energy sector.
The main changes would be an increased annual intake from 120 pupils to 240 including girls, and a 'building swap' which would see the school move to the Endeavour Academy site on Beverley Road, with the Hull Training and Adult Education Academy moving to Charlotte Street Mews.
The school is now run by Delta Academies Trust, who have the support of Trinity House's brethren.
Delta chief executive Paul Tarn said that the changes were designed to prepare children for new career opportunities in Hull and the Humber Port area in sectors such as renewable energy, logistics and engineering. Many leavers also continue to enter the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy.
“A resurgent city, with new jobs and opportunities, must be accessible to the young people of Hull. They will not be observers in the future their city. They must have the education, skills, knowledge, and confidence, to carve out their own destiny.
“Working in partnership with the council, we would invest significant funds at the Beverley Road site to create an outstanding learning and teaching environment for our students and staff.
“It was purpose-built for secondary education and includes some great facilities, including sport fields. The academy’s present site was converted from higher education use and limits our students and staff. One of Hull’s highest performing schools, we are keen to increase capacity at Trinity from 600 to a potential 1,200.
“It is our intention to use that growth to give girls the opportunity to experience Trinity’s unique ethos and education pathways.”
Principal Graeme Levitt added that the switch to a new site would strengthen traditions.
“Whole school parades would be possible once more and maritime studies would play a full part of a broader curriculum. There is ample provision for students to be picked up and dropped off by car and new cycle lanes are being built along Beverley Road."
There would be no changes to the uniform, admissions policy or catchment area, and Trinity House's post-16 nautical college at Carmelite House would remain involved with the school.
Master warden of the Brethren Captain Dennis Robinson said: “Trinity House was the first navigation school, established in 1787, by the Brethren, which was forward thinking indeed.
"Now, almost 250 years later, the Brethren realise that times have changed. Whilst the demand for British seafarers has reduced overall, the numbers of women who choose to go to sea as a profession has increased dramatically and we know of all-female crews on ships and aircraft.
“The Brethren would therefore support the school becoming co-educational, and extend the nautical ethos, education and training opportunities of the academy to both sexes. For over 200 years, the school has been within the Trinity House Estate and the move to the old Nautical College buildings in George Street was a move away from the House.
“However, the links between the House and the school have remained strong, as has the ethos and character of the school. The Brethren are assured, and confident, that that ethos and character of the school, formed over many years, will remain as strong, if not stronger, if this initiative comes about.
“They are confident that the larger school will be every bit as academically successful as it has been in recent years with strong outcomes for the pupils, whether they take up a seagoing career or not. Members of the Board still make up a significant proportion of the school governors. Carrying on that ‘forward thinking’, the Brethren of Hull Trinity House support the initiative to move to the Beverley Road site.”