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Rivington & Blackrod High School


School HistorY

'Once a Riv always a Riv’ – A simple phrase that reflects the impact our school has had on all those who have walked its corridors and says so much about the character of the people who make up the Rivington and Blackrod school family.

We are fortunate to have such a beautiful looking school. However, it is now, and always has been, the people who make our school special. Generations of pupils talk of a ‘family spirit’ founded on solid relationships and outstanding care, guidance and support. This spirit is the constant that links our current school community of around 1900 pupils and 240 staff with much smaller school roles in times gone by. 

Chronological timeline

There is no future without a past, and so below is a chronological history of Rivington and Blackrod High School. We hope that you are touched by our school and enjoy finding out more about us. 



James Pilkington founder of Rivington Grammar School was born at Rivington Hall.
1545 James Pilkington appointed as the vicar of Kendal
1560 James Pilkington becomes Bishop of Durham
1566 Charter of foundation for Rivington Grammar School granted to James Pilkington by Queen Elizabeth I (13th May)
1568 The foundation of Blackrod Grammar School (via the will of John Holme)
1576 The death of James Pilkington (aged 55)
C1575 Opening of Rivington Grammar School (in Rivington Village, on the site of the current primary school)
1715 First Rivington Grammar School rebuilt (on same site)
1875 Rivington Grammar School and Blackrod Grammar School combined to become a single educational establishment
1882 New Rivington & Blackrod Grammar School opened on new (current) site in Rivington Lane School Chapel built
1892 Formation of Old Rivingtonians’ Association
1905 Girls first admitted to Rivington & Blackrod Grammar School
1909 First annual dinner of the Old Rivingtonians’ Association
1910 House system introduced (Holme, Queen’s and Pilkington)
1912 The Pilkington Window (East) unveiled in the school chapel
1922 The War Memorial Window (West) unveiled in the school chapel
1929 New building extensions at Rivington & Blackrod Grammar School
1956 Further building extension at Rivington & Blackrod Grammar School
1958 Headmasters’ house converted to classrooms (new house acquired for Headmaster in Lever Park Avenue)
1966 Quarter Centenary Celebrations of school’s foundation (May 13th)
1973 Rivington and Blackrod High School established (A comprehensive school formed from the amalgamation of Rivington & Blackrod Grammar School and Horwich County Secondary School
1974 Centenary of Old Rivingtonians’ Association
2004 The Brook Learning Partnership is formed, a collaborative partnership with Ladybridge High School  The Pathway Centre opened – a joint build between Rivington and Blackrod High School and Lord Street Primary School
2005 Rivington and Blackrod High School awarded International School Status The Powerwave Skills Centre in Blackrod opens its doors to over 100 learners offering construction skills qualifications Rivington and Blackrod High School is awarded Investor in People Champion Status
2007 Rivington and Blackrod High School is awarded Healthy Schools Status
2008 Rivington & Blackrod High School is awarded the Educational Establishment of the Year Award at the 11th ERA Annual Awards
2009 Rivington and Blackrod High School achieves the Basic Skills Quality Mark and the Inclusion Quality Mark
2010 Rivington and Blackrod High School is awarded the You’re Welcome Award for its Teenage Health Provision
2011 Rivington and Blackrod High School is re-accredited for Investor in People Champion Status – Gold Award and the Cultural Diversity Award
2012 Rivington & Blackrod is awarded the Inclusion Quality Mark Award and the Secondary Geography Quality Mark
2014 Rivington and Blackrod High School is re-accredited for Investor in People Champion Status – Gold Award


Old Rivingtonians

Only a few former pupil associations in the country have a longer continuous history than Old Rivingtonians Association, founded in 1904. With a membership in excess of 200, it embraces pupils from both the former grammar school and the High School.

Its aims are to:
• perpetuate the memory of what was, and is, a remarkable school
• foster continued and new friendships among former pupils
• support the aims and welfare of the school
• support local charities

The year's main events are an Annual Reunion Weekend comprising a dinner dance on the Friday or Saturday evening and a Service in the School Chapel on Sunday. In addition to this, there are two social events each year, and the proceeds are given to charity or used to further the material welfare of the school. In recent years, two new stained glass windows have been commissioned and installed in the school chapel, in memory of a former Headmaster and the Association itself.

In 2011, the Former President of the Old Rivingtonians Association launched a book called 'Rivington Reflections' sharing nostalgic photographs of school life from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Following the success of the book (two sold out editions and a third contemplated), the Old Rivingtonians launched a calendar in 2015 comprising 12 local scenes, painted by seven former pupils at Rivington from the 1920s to the 1980s, and a booklet entitled 'Multum in Parvo', which tells the full and fascinating story of the school's lovely chapel (dedicated in 1892).

This further complemented the school's WWI project, 'Rivington Remembers'. The nett proceeds from the calendar were used to support the Association's President's Charity Fund (the project to build a new teenage oncology unit at The Christie Hospital), whilst the proceeds from the chapel history publication benefited school funds and the Charity fund in equal measure.

Further details on both publications can be obtained from Old Rivingtonians committee member, David Kaye on email at  dkaye43@btinternet.com.

If you would like to become a member or find out more, please contact us direct.