The school began in 1903 when the Municipal Secondary Day School opened in Haywra Crescent with 44 pupils. In 1933 the school, now Harrogate Grammar School but still led by its first Headmaster Mr Thoseby, moved to the present Arthurs Avenue site.
Harrogate Grammar School continued to grow under the leadership of Mr Carr, who took over in 1934 and remained in post until 1961. His successor was Mr Ernest Hill, who played a major role in developing the academic standards for which the school is still known. Harrogate Grammar became a comprehensive school in 1973, and Mr Hill ensured that existing traditions were carried forward. In 1982 Mrs Mary Dance succeeded Mr Hill. Under her leadership the school continued to develop, growing in size whilst retaining its commitment to academic achievement and excellence. Mrs Dance retired in 1991 and Mr Kevin McAleese CBE was appointed as only the fifth Head in almost a century. Mr McAleese retired at Easter 2002 and his place was taken by Dr Philip Limbert. He was in turn succeeded by Mr Richard Sheriff, the current Headteacher, in January 2007.
The school has now grown to an educational community of over 1,850 students with over 550 in the Sixth Form. The school is heavily over-subscribed. The Sixth Form curriculum has been broadened in response to the changes nationally in post-16 provision. Students now have the opportunity to study an exceptionally wide range of subjects at AS and Advanced level.
The school has developed a specialism in language learning and offers enhanced provision from KS3-KS5. Harrogate Grammar School became an Academy Trust and a Teaching school in 2011. Being an Academy Trust allows for greater independence in being able to realise our aim of providing excellence for all and being a Teaching School ensures our focus is upon excellence in teaching and learning by providing first class training for our staff and staff from other institutions.
We are committed to sharing this excellence through our partnership work with other Secondary and Primary Schools, Higher Education providers and other Public Service institutions. Since 2002, the school has been extensively renovated and redecorated. A £1,000,000 building programme to provide four more classrooms and a magnificent new library was completed in July 2006 followed by a new dining area in 2009. In September 2010 a £2 million state-of-the-art Sixth Form extension opened, further enhancing the already exceptional facilities, in addition a classroom block was added to the sixth form due to increased Teaching School responsibilities.