Some of the schools names and age groups have changed over the years, so are referred to by commonly used names as follows: 

  • Bell Lane School
  • Brackenhill School
  • Ackworth Middle School
  • Moortop Special School
  • Mill Dam School
  • Howard CE School
  • High Ackworth CE School
  • Ackworth School

Bell Lane School (Built 1896)

1st Aerial view from the 80s when the school had a rear extension and some of the classrooms on the playground were demolished.

2nd Aerial view showing the junior block built to accommodate years 5 and 6  when Bell Lane First School became a Junior and Infant school and the Middle School system (for years 5 to 8) was abolished in our area and Ackworth Middle School closed. (Now Oakfield Park School).

Brackenhill School

Brackenhill School once stood next to The Electric Theatre (Old Moortop Working Men's Club) where Wentworth Mews now stand. It was a school until Ackworth Middle School (Now Oakfield Park) was opened in 1971 and all the children transferred there. 

It then became what was known as the Adult School and catered for further education courses through the day as an annex to Hemsworth FE College, as well as day and evening recreational courses such as art, pottery, woodwork and cookery classes. There was a youth club and a Saturday morning art club for children.

Groups met there, including the Derby and Joan club and it was used for regular blood donor sessions. It was the hub of the community until funding was cut and it closed altogether. Residents fought for it to be reopened, but it was deemed in need of too much repair work and was sadly demolished in 1995.

All the classrooms surrounding a central hall. This photo was taken after the school closed.

Ackworth Middle School

In 1971 the newly built Ackworth Middle School opened to take children aged 9 to 13 from the feeder schools. Bell Lane, Howard and Wragby. Until then, children had gone to Brackenhill school and High Schools.

I remember the very first day, a frosty January morning, when as first years, we walked down with our teachers from the temporary mobile classrooms at Bell Lane School, to the new Middle School. We helped unwrap the polythene from the legs of the stacks of new chairs and place them around the tables in our lovely new classrooms, 

Mr Clayton was the Headteacher back then and there were 3 classes per year group with classrooms arranged around a shared area for each year group. There was also a science area and a woodworking area, a small hall used for music lessons and the large hall used for assemblies, P.E. and lunchtime.

At lunchtime we sat around the same octagonal tables each day and two 4th year pupils on each table served food to everyone on their table from the tins brought to each table by the dinner staff. 

In 1996 during the Southern Area Review, Middle Schools were scrapped and children aged 9 to 11 remained at the First Schools which became Junior and Infant Schools whilst the 11 to 13 year olds went to the High Schools. 

The school was then utilised for children with special needs and today is Oakfield Park School.

With thanks to Harry Miles for the following photographs from the books 'Miles... around Ackworth' and 'Ackworth... to the end of the century' 

Ackworth Moortop Special School

With thanks to Guy Latchem for photographs and the following information about the school which his father Ron Latchem and mother Vera opened and ran for the first 20 years.

Moor Top Special School was built in 1967 on land originally gifted for the purpose of education by Archbishop of York, Robert Holgate, in the time of Henry VIII. The School and grounds were located between Chiltern Drive and Oakfield Park School on Barnsley Road where Cirrus View, Howard Drive and Stratus Close are now.

It was established to help maladjusted boys between the ages 7 and 16, coming from challenging home environments, who needed some structure and kindness to get them on the right path for life. This purpose was often misunderstood by some people, who may have referred to it as “the naughty boys’ school”, but nothing could have been further from the truth.

For the first 20 years, the Headmaster was Ron Latchem, who worked alongside his wife Vera and the dedicated team of teachers and domestic staff to give the boys the best start in life. He was also passionate about working with the village community to promote the great work going on at the school. As part of this commitment, and to get the boys involved in the village, he even built an amazing float for the 1977 Silver Jubilee Gala parade – a scale model of the Royal Yacht Britania constructed around the school minibus using dimensions and plans provided by the crew of Britania.

The school was eventually closed in 2000 and subsequently demolished in 2002 with the children and services being relocated to  Felkirk School in South Hiendley.

Mill Dam School

Mill Dam School was originally built as a 'First School', taking children aged between 4 and 9 on the site of the old Mill Dam.  

Howard CE School

Built in 1833 by Rachel Howard to educate Christian children, the school had one classroom for 70 children aged 7 to 14. In 1873 her brother John Elliot Howard built an infant classroom in the same style and stone as the main school. The school has had several extensions in more recent years.

Rachel Howard lived at the Court which belonged to her father Luke Howard the meteorologist who categorised clouds.  

High Ackworth CE School

The small school was next to the village green and is now a private home. 

Ackworth School

Often referred to as the 'Quaker School', the Society of Friends’ school, built in 1758 for the Foundling Hospital, was purchased in 1777 by Dr. John Fothergill, a member of that society, and refounded in 1779 for its present purpose - Ackworth School. 

Today it is an independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 2.5 - 18 years 

The full history of the School is too great to cover here and there is a wealth of information about it in books and online.