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History of The School.

1743 - 1935

Dinnington High School is one of the most important schools in Yorkshire's history. It is the oldest school in the borough, and the second oldest school in South Yorkshire; it was the first 'comprehensive school' to be established in the region, and paved the way for the advancement of modern education in the United Kingdom. Not a lot is known about the school's early years, there is little documentation of it - any that existed in the school archives was sadly lost in the 1996 fire. What we do know is that the school today originates from The Dinnington School, founded in around 1743 - teaching itself could date back to the 14th century in a chorister school founded (most likely) at St Johns Church, just under a mile from the current school, though there is no absolute evidence for this. The Dinnington School was a small dame school which existed within the town, the were many of these private schools that started to emerge in British settlements. The Dinnington School was only large enough to accommodate the local demands at the time. As the years went by, and the population of Dinnington grew, the school was expanded and moved locations a number of times.


Eventually, The Fisher Education Act of 1918 had made Secondary Education compulsory up to the age of 14, and this was now putting a strain on the Mixed Department of the Dinnington School. In order to relieve stress on the Dinnington School, talks of splitting the school into separate departments to form a new Secondary Department in Dinnington began in 1931, the former school would become a Junior School, with the over-10s moving to the new Secondary Department on the current site.


The new school was built on the grounds of Throapham Manor, and was opened by Sir Percy Jackson in 1935 as Dinnington Senior Boys' School and Dinnington Senior Girls' School. It consisted of a single timber building at the cost of around £21,300 which was divided into girls' and boys' departments. In 1938 the building was extended and a separate gymnasium was added. The Manor House was also used for teaching and housed 11 classrooms until its demolition in the 1970s. 

Dinnington Hall001-2.jpg

Original School Building, where Dame Teaching was based


Throapham Teaching Classrooms

1935 - 1963

After the outbreak of the Second World War, Air raid shelters were completed on school grounds in April 1940, and the school could evacuate to them in under two minutes. The school turned over its playing fields for farming vegetables. Bees were also kept for honey, and a pig-sty was built to house 11 pigs. The school closed for a fortnight, during this time staff took turns by twos in being present from 9 – 8 and in resisting any attempts on the part of unwanted persons to commandeer the premises.


In 1939 Lieutenant Pepper and Sergeant Major Cressey were keen to obtain school buildings as barracks. They had received instructions to take only half the school and were anticipating immediate permission for such a step. The military occupied the school on Thursday 14 September 1939 at about 1:30 pm. The Boys' Department was broken up into groups of 50 pupils who were taught in the school on successive days. The girls' Domestic Science rooms were used to provide school meals, as the servery was in use by the soldiers.


Objections by the school were made, as the presence of soldiers made Dinnington a military target, as a result, all military authorities were asked to leave by 30 September. By way of recompense, the military dug the school regulation military-occupation trenches.


In 1957 the two halves merged to form the coeducational Dinnington Secondary Modern School, and at that point there were already plans for a further merger with the secondary technical element of the neighbouring Dinnington Chelmsford Technical College to create the area's first comprehensive school.

This comprehensive school, Dinnington High School, opened on 23 September 1963 (a formal opening taking place a year later, conducted by Jack Longland). The area between the two merging establishments was developed with a new campus designed by Basil Spence & Partners. This campus consisted of four house bases and a sixth form college, along with a new main hall and a second gym.

It was around this time that Dinnington began to develop its sporting pedigree, establishing a Rugby Union Football Club just off of its campus. This club was intended to develop the school's Old Boys, and has since produced many professional players.

The first buildings erected on the new campus.

Only The Old Gym (with the large pitched roof)

remains today


College Hall, home of  Technical departments

School Football Team 1935

1963 - Present Day

The school came under the control of the new Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council in 1974 and was renamed Dinnington Comprehensive School. Soon after the school uniform changed for the very first time, dropping the original black blazer and tie for more casual polo shirts and blue jumpers embroidered with the schools crest – this also briefly changed to black jumpers, before the school returned to its traditional black blazer and house tie.

In the late 1900s, Dinnington had a large problem with fire, with many students having been caught playing with fire on school grounds. This was especially problematic as much of the original buildings were timber built. On 20 August 1996 the original school building (which still made up close to half of the teaching campus) was set alight by arsonists; the latest in a succession of arson attacks on the school. The fire destroyed the building and took with it student course-work and several computer rooms. House-bases were re-fitted into classrooms and this led to the brief phasing out of the house system at Dinnington, which had existed in various forms even during the pre-merger days.

In 1997 a new school building was opened, standing on the site of the burnt-out original. The brick-built two-storey building called 'New Build' allowed a long-standing "ghetto" of 1960s-built portable classrooms (known as the Terrapin Plateau) to finally be retired. Several other aging prefab buildings on campus have been demolished in recent years.

On 27 January 2005 the school announced its success in a bid to become a specialist school in Science and Engineering. Previously, in 1993, it had been designated a technology school as part of a previous Department of Education grant scheme.


Clock Tower on the College Building


The Old Gymnasium in 2016

Notable Alumni

From the notorious 19th century murderer Charles Peace, to the admired historian, Ebenezer Rhodes, Dinnington has produced many names synonymous with local and national culture.


Charles Peace, Dinnington Alumnus

School Crest

Unknown - 1935


1935 - 1941

1941 - 2017


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