MOVE over West Ham, Man City and the Lionesses; this summer it is Ilkley Grammar School students that are hitting the headlines.

While Ilkley Grammar School has a long-standing tradition for both participation and success in sport, this year has already surpassed all expectations and is proving to be one of the most successful sporting years ever for the school with students securing success at a regional level and competing in national finals.

National finals

• U14 boys Hockey competed in the National Finals in Nottingham after qualifying through the Yorkshire Cup knock out competition and beating Dame Allen School in the North of England Finals (March 2023).

• Gymnastics:

o The IGS team competed in the finals of the British Schools’ National Championships in Stoke on Trent after qualifying through the Yorkshire Championships, with Carys Higham, Skye Kitching, Olivia Rutter, Isla Barker, Heidi Pearce and Eliza Button all reaching these finals, while Pearce and Barker came a close 4th in the U14’s Women’s Pair routine, 0.1 marks off a bronze medal in April.

o In the British NDP Finals IGS students Mathew Burnham and Alex Stewart were crowned champions for the third year running in the Grade 5 Men’s Pairs category. Evan Higham and Heidi Pearce secured a bronze medal in the Grade 5 Mixed Pairs. They also came first in the UK for their balance routine.

• Tennis: The IGS boys’ tennis team have booked a place in the LTA National Glanville National Cup final at Nottingham Tennis Centre having beaten Woodhouse Grove, QUEGS Wakefield, Bradford Grammar and St.Peter’s York. Although this is an U18 competition all the members of the IGS team are U15. The team members that shone were Thomas Nailer, Ben Winterbottom, Jack Winterbottom, Daniel Nicoll and George Bayne (June 2023).

District and local success


• Year 7 Boys: Leeds and District League and Cup winners.

• Year 9 Boys: Leeds and District League and Cup winners beating Farnley Academy 5-4 in a thrilling final.

• Year 9 Girls: Leeds and District League and Cup winners (May 2023).

• Year 10 Boys: Leeds and District League and Cup winners after beating Wetherby 5-2. Cross Country

• Y9/10 Boys and Girls crowned the Keighley and Craven XC team champions (February 2023)


• U12A Bradford District Netball League Winners (March 2023)

• U14A Bradford District Netball League Winners (March 2023)


• The IGS team became the Yorkshire Schools Golf Champions (April 2023)

County cricketers

• Following the phenomenal success of ex-IGS students Harry Brook and Matthew Revis who serve as inspirational role models for Ilkley’s students, the school are fortunate to have a wealth of cricketing talent at IGS. Edward Brook (Y7), George Lancaster (Y8), Jack Winterbottom (Y8) and Mack Hall (Y10) are all representing Yorkshire at full county level with the most recent addition, Edward Brook being one of only 24 boys in the county to represent Yorkshire County Cricket Club U12.

• Mack Hall continues on the Yorkshire Pathways Emerging Player Programme (EPP) having been selected as only one of eight boys in his year group from the whole of Yorkshire. He will play at county level for at least the next two years.

• Matthew Burnham has also been selected to play cricket as part of the West Yorkshire cricket team.

Ilkley Gazette: Participating in the British Schools’ National Championships in Stoke on Trent after qualifying through the Yorkshire Championships.Participating in the British Schools’ National Championships in Stoke on Trent after qualifying through the Yorkshire Championships. (Image: Ilkley Grammar School)

These headline successes, which represent the pinnacle of student sporting achievement at IGS, are the result of all the hard work that goes on at grass roots level with much larger numbers of students, in PE lessons, extra-curricular school sport and in the wider community. The recent combined Business Studies and maths trip, taking nearly 100 students to the Etihad Stadium to see how Manchester City operates as a business, is just one example of how the wider aspects of sport are also explored through the curriculum.

Mr Gutch, Deputy Headteacher, said: “We are incredibly proud of these multiple sporting successes which are testament to the hard work and dedication of staff and students. There has been a real buzz around school over the last few weeks as we wait for the results from the latest final and it is clear that Ilkley Grammar School students are proving that they can compete at the very highest level. Success, in any sphere, breeds success, and over time it has the potential to become a culture.

"Our aim at IGS is to continue to build a culture of success founded on a belief in grass roots participation in its widest sense which is true to our identity as a non-selective comprehensive school. On the sports field we see our school values of Courage, Resilience, Responsibility, Respect, Kindness, and Pride in action, and this also translates into personal development off the pitch. We want all our students to realise their individual potential, to be inspired by each other, and to achieve their personal best – whatever that may be.”

A spokesperson added: “Ilkley Grammar School would like to recognise the fantastic work that goes on across school and within the community with local volunteers and sports coaches.

At Ilkley Grammar School students have the opportunity to participate in many different sports at many different levels and also take the lead in a range of different ways as Sports Leaders or as members of the School Sports Council. It is this wider participation which has enabled us to successfully gain the Gold Mark again for 2022-23.”