It can trace its history to the raising of the school leaving age to 15, shortly before the Second World War, and as the education system was reorganised around the new rules, it was the first of its type in the county.
Yesterday, staff and governors gathered outside the Outwood Academy, in Ripon to acknowledge its history.
The plaque was put up by Ripon Civic Society and was one of more than 30 around the city, marked the 80th anniversary of classrooms on the site at Clotherholme Road, and 75 years since they became part of Ripon Secondary Modern.
“It is important that the long history of education in the city is recognised,” said Christopher Hughes, chairman of Ripon Civic Society, who noted that its scholastic tradition predated the war by a good 13 centuries, to the time of St Wilfred. The first buildings on Clotherholme Road were declared open in 1939 by Sir Percy Jackson, chairman of the old County Council, who said Ripon was fortunate to have the first school of its kind in what was still then the West Riding.
Its first name change came with the 1945 Education Act, which saw former elementary schools became secondary moderns, and the title above the door changed several more times over the decades. In the 1990s it was Ripon City School and then Ripon College, before taking its present academy title in 2011.
“We are extremely proud to be part of the 80-year chronology,” said the principal, Will Pratt, who added that its present-day values were closely aligned to the original aims of “raising a generation of well-educated and civic-minded young people”.