Ermysted’s Grammar School can trace its origins to the last decade of the 15th century, possibly 1476 but certainly before 1492 as a Chantry School founded by Peter Toller adjoining Skipton Parish Church.
It is the seventh oldest state school in Britain. It was refounded after the Dissolution in the building next to the Cross Keys public house at the bottom of Shortbank Road in 1548 by William Ermysted and it moved to its present site in 1876.
The initial Foundation for the School has been maintained through the centuries and is now managed as a registered charity by the Foundation Governors.
Because of the charitable status of the Foundation, Ermysted’s is classed as a Voluntary Aided (VA) school. As a Voluntary Aided school, Ermysted’s has to provide 10% of any cost for new buildings, renovations and maintenance of existing buildings. Without the Foundation’s contribution, further development and refurbishment simply cannot take place.
The main 1876 building in which the School primarily operates is classified as listed which, in effect, gives the whole site listed status. The advantage is VAT exemption on most development but the disadvantage is that no development can take place without Listed Building Consent. Furthermore, because the land and property belong to the Foundation and not the Local Authority, all planning applications must go to Craven District Council. In addition, the site is registered locally as a conservation area which imposes further restrictions. All development, therefore, has to be planned to be in keeping with the original design and appearance of the School which itself brings its own costs.
Over the past 10 years, the School has developed dramatically to accommodate the growth of pupil numbers from approximately 600 to the present role of over 800. Major projects include the building of 2 new science labs, conversion of the old gym into IT suites and RE rooms, conversion of the old baths into the Music Centre, construction of the Refectory and the Food Technology Lab, construction of the CDT/English block, the Sixth Form Centre, in addition to the refurbishment of existing laboratories and teaching rooms. The Foundation’s contribution to this expenditure has amounted to over £500,000.
In addition to the capital expense of maintaining and developing the site, the Foundation also contributes to the costs of educational trips, visits, travel to sports fixtures, and entry fees to competitions.
It is easy to see why the Foundation needs constant replenishment.
That replenishment is provided primarily by donations from pupils’ families. With over 800 boys on roll, if the majority of families commit to a regular contribution, gift aided to the School, the Foundation will be provided with an income stream sufficient to ensure the prosperity of the School into the future.
Should you wish to donate, a banker’s order and gift-aid declaration form can be downloaded here.
However large or small, every donation is gratefully received.