We’re proud of our history, because of the way it inspires every single one of our students in a very real sense, every day. Our heritage may span over four centuries, but we’re definitely not old school in our thinking. Our students are aware of their place in our history and the significance of the tie they wear. They recognise that their achievements mean something in the grand QEGS scheme of things; that our history isn’t overly stuffy or traditional, but an active source of inspiration that is being added to all of the time.
When boys walk down our hallowed corridors, they are empowered by the greatness of QEGS former luminaries and use the accomplishments of the past, to inform their own dynamic futures.
Queen Elizabeth Grammar School dates back to 1591. Numerous schools founded during the reign of Elizabeth I and bearing her name still exist today, but outstanding amongst them is our own ‘Free School of Queen Elizabeth’. With Mary Queen of Scots royally despatched and the Spanish Armada recently defeated, the citizens of Wakefield used this time of relative buckshot -free peace to focus on the future education of local boys.
On November 19th 1591, a charter was granted authorising fourteen men to act as Governors of the new school. The actual charter is still in existence today and states that:
“Of our especial grace, certain knowledge and mere motion, we do, will grant and ordain for us, our heirs and successors, that hereafter there be and shall be one Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth at Wakefield, for the teaching, instructing and bringing up of children and youth in grammar, and other good learning, to continue to that use forever”.
Five of the fourteen original governors bore the name Savile and generations of the Savile family have subsequently played important roles in the school’s history – hence the reason why our alumni association is called The Old Savilians’ Club.
The school crest, designed soon after the school was founded, features a golden lion in a red field (relating to our royal foundation); a silver owl on black (inspired by the Savile family’s coat of arms) and a Bible (representing the religious side of education).
In 1854, with QEGS becoming more crowded, the school moved from its original home to the present Northgate site. Bequests and grants played a major role in extending opportunities to a wider range of social backgrounds and this tradition continues today, through Foundation awards, scholarships and bursaries. In 1910, the Governors established a Junior School away from the main school and further extending the QEGS legacy.
Today QEGS continues in its centuries-old quest to enable every student to be the very best they can be. Informed by our history, students leave here knowing that enjoying true success in life is not just about academic achievement but finding their own individual path, building lifelong friendships and using their sense of social responsibility, to make a real difference in the world.