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Archbishop Holgate’s School

Archbishop Holgate School

At Archbishop Holgate’s School our commitment to ‘Values, Care and Achievement’ underpins all that we do.  The school’s Christian values of Trust, Forgiveness, Compassion and Justice are complemented by pastoral care that values each student as an individual and helps maximise their achievement by making the most of their individual gifts and talents.

An important part of the life of our school is our commitment to service and fundraising.  The information below gives a flavour of what we do at Archbishop Holgate’s School.


Archbishop Holgate’s School - Our links with the Church of England

Archbishop Holgate's School was founded by one of the leading statesmen of the reign of King Henry VIII.  Robert Holgate held absolute political power in the North, running the King's Council in the North from the King's Manor, raising armies to subdue the Scots, and operating with the authority of the King himself.  In 1545, Henry VIII made him Archbishop of York, thereby complementing Holgate's political authority with the authority of one of the two leading roles in the Church of England, and cementing his position of absolute supremacy (second only to the King himself) in matters spiritual and temporal north of the Trent.  Very soon after he was enthroned as Archbishop of York, Holgate founded a number of schools.  Holgate took a close personal interest in the organisation of each school; his own signature lies at the bottom of each of the twenty-four pages of each of the three surviving copies of our school's Foundation Deed.  Holgate fell from grace politically, but remained Archbishop of York, a role he fulfilled vigorously until 1554.

The original school site, between Ogleforth and the City Walls, was on land in the shadow of York Minster owned by Holgate himself.  Links between Church and School have remained strong.  Indeed, the story of the school over more than four and a half centuries has been intertwined with the story of successive Archbishops of York.  No school in the country has more distinguished links with the Church of England than this one, including successive Archbishops serving as Foundation Governors of the school.  Other Foundation Governors have included a senior Canon Residentiary of York Minster, and a senior representative from York St John University.

Archbishop Holgate's is not, however, an exclusively Church of England institution.  The school is committed to exploring ways in which these and other links with the Church of England can be deepened, and ways in which our links with other denominations and faiths can also be further developed.  Members of the school community – both students and staff – come to Archbishop Holgate's from a wide variety of denominations, beliefs and faiths, and are gladly accepted, in the expectation that they will feel at ease in such a setting.

At the start of 2011 there were only two hundred or so Church of England maintained secondary schools in the country, and four in the Diocese of York.  The other three being Manor VA School, York; All Saints' VA School, Ingleby Barwick, Middlesbrough (opened as new build in 2003) and Archbishop Sentamu, Hull (which became an Academy in 2008).  Indeed in April 2010 both Archbishop Holgate’s and Manor successfully became Church of England Academies.  The school believes that having a Christian foundation at the centre of all it does give the school an extra dimension, an additional facet, giving it a distinctiveness which makes it different from most community schools. Church status does not provide a context for evangelising; those committed to Christianity will, on the other hand, often find many ways in which their faith can find expression through the corporate values of the school.

Our links with the Church of England include an annual invitation to hold our Carol Service in York Minster; a deepening relationship with our 'home' parish of Heslington; and developing links with other parishes and churches within the area we serve. 

Recognising its historic foundation, the school hopes to preserve and develop its religious character in accordance with the principles of the Church of England and in partnership with the Church at parish and diocesan level.  The school aims to serve its community by providing an education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice.  It encourages an understanding of the meaning and significance of faith, and promotes Christian values through the experience it offers to all its students.

In 2013 the school celebrated 50 years since it moved from Lord Mayors Walk and opened on its current site on Hull Road. To celebrate this jubilee milestone the school community has worked on the development of a new contemplative garden at the heart of the school which has been designed by A’ level students.  The first stage is complete and this wonderful new space sits just outside the school Chapel and is called the Archbishop Tutu Spiritual Garden. This resource complements the Chapel and adds to the work of the Chaplaincy team in the spiritual development of Archbishop Holgate’s young people, helping them to flourish as rounded individuals.

 Archbishop Tutu Spiritual Garden









Archbishop Holgate’s School - South Africa link

The Diocese of York is twinned with three Dioceses in South Africa – the Dioceses of Cape Town, False Bay and Saldhana Bay.  As a Church school Archbishop Holgate’s has fostered a great link with the Diocese of Cape Town.  This started with a visit by two staff in 2004 and has continued with four subsequent visits by staff and students, the most recent in March this year.  These visits involve extensive community service and educational elements; as well as getting to know the people, culture and history of Cape Town.  The latter is achieved through visits to churches, youth groups and through home stay.  As a fruit of their on-going relationship with the Diocese of Cape Town the school played host in 2011 and 2012 to two Capetonian students who came to study in the Sixth Form as part of a month long exchange.  Archbishop Holgate’s students made reciprocal visits to the prestigious St Cyprian’s School in Cape Town.  The school has also welcomed a group of Capetonian footballers and youth workers from the Diocese, as well as numerous members of the clergy.  Recently we were exceptionally honoured to welcome Archbishop Desmond Tutu to the school in November 2013.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Whilst with us he toured the school, listened to presentations about the work with Cape Town, addresses students and dedicated the site of a new spiritual garden in the heart of the school. At present the school is making plans for our forthcoming visit with the next group of young people in Spring 2016.  This will be the sixth such visit and the students are busy fundraising for the projects they will be working with.

Archbishop Holgate’s School - Charity work and School Council

Archbishop Holgate's School Fun Run

At Archbishop Holgate’s School students are encouraged to give of their time, energy, creativity, as well as their money, for charity.  The ethos which drives our charity mission is Matthew 25 “When Lord did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink?  When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you into our homes or naked and clothe you?  When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?  And the King will reply, ‘I tell you whenever you did this for one of the least of my brothers’, you did it for me”.  Charities are chosen annually, by the school community, and are supported through various fund raising events such as cake sales, sponsored events, dance marathons, non-uniform days and fun runs.  The school has also looked to raise substantial monies for larger projects such as the classroom bought in 2010 for a pre-school in our link Diocese of Cape Town; as well as supporting national charities such as Children in Need, Comic Relief, Macmillan Cancer Care Trust, Cystic Fibrosis and local York based charities such as Arclight, St Leonard’s Hospice, SCBU and York against Cancer.

 Students volunteer in Khayleitsha

For further information please visit . The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has been Patron of Archbishop Holgate’s School since 2007.