Norden High School

Website Information

What's New?

Why not try the "Interactive Map" of Rishton, move your mouse over the map and click on the hotspots to open the page.

Search This Website


Today in Rishton..

Current Weather

Currently Unavailable

Latest News Headlines

Currently Unavailable

For more news on Rishton use this link

Website Visitors

(See the web stats page in the utilities section of the site for previous visitors)

Since February 2009 -

free counters

The school motto 'Here to Learn' refers not only to learning within academic subjects but also learning the skills needed to become responsible members of society. The school provides a caring, supportive environment for pupils of all abilities. They aim to ensure that pupils achieve their true potential and leave school with good qualifications and skills.

One of Norden's strengths lies in its good community links. The school has a dual usage agreement with Hyndburn Borough Council and the Youth Service. Youth groups use the school facilities three nights a week and the council puts on various sporting activities during evenings, weekends and holidays.

Norden is an 11-16 school with approximately 650 pupils on roll in each calendar year. The main intake of pupils now come from the Rishton and Great Harwood areas and as the school's popularity has increased and it is heavily over-subscribed.

Fom the air and Norden
Norden from the air at the end of the 1980's. Note the all weather pitch in the background which has been astroturfed in 2004.
Norden School in the 1950's.

1926 saw the Hadow report published. This report had sweeping changes for the education system, including moving all 11 year old pupils to some form of secondary school.

Plans for the new senior school were finally approved on the 15th February 1937.

On the 5th May 1938, It was resolved by the council that arrangements were to be made to rent land from the Dunkenhalgh Estate for sufficient land area for the erection of a county school. The allotment holders who were being displaced were to be accommodated for elsewhere.

The school was referred to as the "NEW SCHOOL" for many years after it opened, some people still refer to it this way now.

A letter was received by the Rishton Urban District Council on the 2nd February 1939, from the Rishton Trades and labour Council regarding the employment of local people on the new county school at Stourton Street. The clerk was instructed to write to the contractors requesting them to endeavour to carry out the promise made in August 1938, to employ as many local men as practicable. These were hard times for employment in the town, and work was sought after.

The school was opened in 1942 and was known as Rishton Secondary Modern School, catering for Rishton schoolchildren who did not pass the 11-plus examination. Later, children from Wilpshire, Mellor and surrounding villages were admitted. In 1961 the school amalgamated with Great Harwood Secondary Modern School to become Norden County Secondary School. The school operated on two sites until 1971 when the Rishton building, having had extensive building work, housed all pupils on one site. In August 1975, we became known as Norden County High School under the comprehensive system. The school is at the side of the Leeds/Liverpool canal in Rishton and looks out over the valley towards Great Harwood. Its name derives from the ward in which it is built.

In 1942 the senior Council school was finished, and opened by Sir James Aitken, who was the current Chairman of the Lancashire Education Committee. Along side him was County Councillor F. Worsley J. P., who was also the Chairman of the Rishton Urban District Council.

Norden about 1950.

It took until October 1971 for Norden to be officially opened. This was done by Lord Clitheroe.

The head master in 1942 was Mr. E. T. Hooper. The rateable value at the time of opening was set for  Lancashire County Council at Gross £460, Net £380.

In 1942, when the "New School" was opened, Captain C. B. Petre, who had left the Dunkenhalgh Manor in 1939, gave a sum of money to the school to create the Petre Prize Fund, and thus he may be regarded as the first patron of the school.

The Council resolved that the recommendation of the Allotments Sub-Committee, held on the 26th August 1943, be adopted:- "That the County Education Committee be requested to permit the taking off of the corner of the New Council School fencing to permit entry of vehicles to Goosey Butts Allotments."

Plans were submitted for a proposed School Central Kitchen and Boiler-house for the Lancashire County Council in Stourton Street, Rishton on the 8th June 1944. The Councils recommendations of the Town Planning Officer were accepted and that the plan were disapproved for the following reasons:-

  • That the proposed Central Kitchen and Boiler-house will be situate in an area which it is intended shall be zoned in the North-East Lancashire (Region No. 1) Joint Town and Country Planning Scheme for Residential purposes.
  • That the proposed Central Kitchen and Boiler-house adjoining, by reason of their size, height, design and siting would be likely to seriously injure the amenities of the locality.
  • That the proposal does not secure well-planned development.

The proposals were turned down, and new plans were submitted for central kitchens on Walmsley Street.

Complaints were received from residents from the sands estate on the 14th August 1952, regarding weeds alleged to have been blown from the grounds of the Modern Secondary School. The attention of the local County Councillor and the Divisional Education Committee be drawn to the nuisance caused by the weeds.

On the 18th September 1952, A letter was submitted from the Education Officer asking if the Council could arrange for the regular cutting of the weeds by members of the Highways staff. Due to labour difficulties, it was regrettable that no assistance could be given by the Council, but that it was hoped the Education Authorities would continue to keep the weeds to a minimum and, if possible, lay-out the land for its original intention, as a playing field.

In 1992 the school paid £40,000 for new floodlights to cover the tennis courts at the back of the school. This was part of a multi-thousand pound package to improve the school for community use.

In July 1996, YOUNGSTERS from Romania got a first-hand taste of what life was like in an East Lancashire school. A party of eight teenagers from Eastern Europe stayed with families in the Rishton area and spent several days at Norden High School. The visitors also visited tourist attractions across the North West including York and the Lake District. The Romanians were put in touch with Norden High School with the help of Blackburn Cyclists' Touring Club who travelled to the former Soviet Bloc country earlier in the year.  Norden teacher David Brayley-Willmetts helped to organise the visit. He said: "We wrote to all the families of pupils at the school explaining these children were coming and had nowhere to stay. "We had no problems finding places for these youngsters, the response was marvellous."1

The rear of Norden school in November 2001.

During April 1997 SEVEN schools in East Lancashire were the first in the county to achieve accredited status for the National Record of Achievement scheme. The schools had to pass a rigorous three-day visit by trained assessors who inspected documentation and talked to a wide range of people involved in the scheme.

The National Record of Achievement is designed to help people plan and manage their own learning and make the right decisions about personal career development. The scheme was opened to schools, colleges, training groups and employers. A total of 22 schools across Lancashire were presented with their awards in Chorley. They included Norden.

On the 25th October 1997, Norden and another Hyndburn school was given cash to help pay for 71 extra spaces for pupils in the borough. Lancashire County Council set aside £373,000 to fund the extra  classroom spaces earlier in the year.

Norden in July 2001.

Norden High looked set to get a new extension at the science block which would house two classrooms.

FIVE East Lancashire high schools were been awarded cash to help them link up with local sports clubs on Thursday 16 April 1998

The schools were among 113 in the North West to receive up to £1,000 each as part of more than £100,000 handed out by the English Sports Council's Challenge Fund.

Norden High School, Rishton, was to get help with its links with Blackburn Rugby Union Football Club and Blackburn and District Cyclists' Touring Club.

The Schools had to submit two action plans showing links the school had with local sports clubs and how those links were being promoted and developed.

English Sports Council regional director Sheldon Phillips said: "Encouraging young people to participate in organised sporting activities outside the school curriculum is the key to encouraging a lifelong interest and participation in sport."

On Wednesday 03 February 1999, A TEENAGE pupil was suspended from school after a 14-year-old boy's face was burned in a cookery lesson.

Mark Bailey was left with a two-inch mark under his right eye after he was scorched by a heated-up potato masher at Norden High School, Rishton.

The other boy was suspended for five days following the incident, which also involved a third boy from Year 9, and police are investigating.

Mark's parents, John and Tanya Bailey, of St Charles Road, Rishton, say the pupil who did it should be expelled.

They also intend to lodge a complaint with Lancashire Education Authority and want guarantees that similar incidents will be prevented.

Mrs Bailey said: "Mark was just sitting quietly, getting on with some written work, when a lad came over and shouted at him.

"Mark lifted his head and a metal potato masher which had been heated on the flame of a gas oven went into in his face. "It left a two-inch burn under his right eye and the masher's pattern was imprinted on his cheek. Luckily, it won't scar.

"Mark said he didn't feel anything at the time and only realised what had happened at the end of class when other pupils were asking what he'd done to his face.

"He told a teacher who did everything right and put cold water on it. We kept Mark off school the following day, but he was worried about this other lad coming back. They suspended the boy for a week, but I don't think that was enough. He should have been excluded, or at least been given a longer suspension.

"The head said it was out of character, but I'm not interested in her defending him.

"It could have been a lot worse and I'd like them to make sure this sort of thing won't happen again."

In a written statement, head teacher Gena Merrett said: "An incident took place last week in a food technology lesson in which a boy was injured. He was treated by staff as soon as possible.

"The boy who caused the injury was dealt with as soon as we were aware of the facts. His parents were called in and he was suspended for a week.

"He was a boy of previous excellent record. This is a longer suspension than I would usually give to a first offender, to reflect the seriousness of the incident.

"As the police have been consulted I cannot comment any further on this incident."

Inspector Bob Ford, of Great Harwood police, said: "We have received a phone call about an alleged incident and we are investigating the matter, but I cannot comment any further at this stage."

On Thursday 20 May 1999, THREE Norden High School pupils claimed a convincing team win in the North District final of the GHS 10-mile competition for riders under the age of 16 years.

Held on the Garstang course on Saturday afternoon, Jon Steer was second fastest overall with a time of 24mins 21secs, Grant Howarth was seventh with 26m 41s and James Kenyon, in his first-ever competitive event, clocked 29m 40s for 13th place to give the Blackburn and District CTC members first team prize. Overall winner of the event was James Bell of Carlisle with the excellent time of 22m 26s. The national final of the 30-year-old GHS competition will be held in Kent in September.

On Thursday 24 June 1999, Pupils had an idyllic Lake District holiday spoiled when thieves stole hundreds of pounds worth of goods from their minibus after they stopped for a 15-minute food break.

Two teachers and 13 Year-11 students from Norden High School, Rishton, were returning from a camping trip in Ambleside when they stopped in Preston to pick up a takeaway.

The group left the school minibus parked for just 15 minutes, but when they returned, they found it had been broken into, with two windows smashed and the door left hanging open.

Initially, the group thought nothing had been taken because many expensive electrical items such as portable CD players and mobile phones were still on display.

But once the police had been called, the students realised clothes and gadgets worth hundreds of pounds had been snatched by the opportunist thieves.

Police believe the crooks were disturbed before they had chance to steal more of the students' belongings.

Norden High School headteacher Gena Merrett said the theft, on Tuesday, made for a disappointing end to the holiday, which had been arranged to coincide with the end of the students' GCSEs.

She said: "It is very sad that such a happy holiday had to end this way. "We are always worried when we take students away but everything had passed off so well, without any hitches.

"They had spent several nights camping in Ambleside after the end of the exams and had obviously enjoyed themselves.

"We are now in the process of claiming on our insurance for the items which were taken. It was all quite a shock for them."

The holiday has become an annual event for the top year students, she added, and this was the first time anything had gone wrong.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said the crime proved the need to always place valuables out of view.

She said: "We always tell people to either take anything of particular value with them or hide them where they can't be seen."

On Site Police

The year 2002, September the 27th, saw Norden become the first school in the County of Lancashire to have its own police constable based on site. This was in part down to the Governments local beat initiative which was pouring millions of pounds into the country to try and get bobbies back on the beat. 31 year old PC Mark Skellorn was welcomed to his new post by the current head teacher, Denise Parkinson at the beginning of the school term.

All Weather Pitches

Work was completed on the new astro turf playing fields by the end of April 2003. These were floodlit, like the tennis courts. This took Norden one step closer to being opened up for Community use. Hyndburn Borough Council put aside £10,000 from the 2004/5 Capital investment programme to fund floodlighting for the schools artificial playing pitch, A pitch which had cost in the region of £278,000 most of which had been raised by funding from other sources. A survey by the electric company, Transco, who run the Nation grid, in November 2003 of the new astro turf area revealed that the pylons running near to the pitch would not allow the use of metal netball posts or umbrellas. It was possible that the 400kv lines which ran over the top of one of the boundary fences could give micro shocks which were considered to be uncomfortable rather than harmful. 45 meters parallel to these were some lower voltage pylons run by United utilities.

Sadly, just 18 months later on the 21st January 2005, it was reported that the astro turf had been closed. The pitch had been classed as unsafe to use by pupils and public alike. The pitch had been classed as only 80% playable after heavy rains in early January 2005 had washed mud and debris across it. The school blamed the site of the pitch, saying that it was in a dip, but a drain was also blocked on Harwood Road, near to the astro pitch, which had caused the flooded to be worse than normal. The school had been told that it was a good location for an all weather pitch, which is true, as the all weather pitch had stood on the same location for over 20 years previously. The cost of repair to the pitch had been estimated in the region of £20,000 which was untaken. The pitch had been named the Paddy Field in memory of Mrs. Paddy Rouse, a former teacher at the school, who had died in April 2004.

Astro turf
Nordens Astro turf pitch in April 2004.

They had also raised £1,250,000 towards the cost of the new sports hall, which work finally started on in January 2005. The Borough Council pointed out that if the facilities were opened during evenings and weekends then operational costs would be reduced.

Sports College

Shortly after this it was announced that the school was to apply to become a specialist sports college. To be able to be granted funding for this the school was to have to raise £50,000 towards the costs to able other funding to become available, and events and fund raising were organised. There were 45,000 people a year making use of the existing sports faculties at this time, and this was expected to increase.

By the middle of February, this target had been achieved.

The school was set the challenge of raising the cash before the end of the month as part of its bid to achieve specialist Sports College status. Delighted head teacher Denise Parkinson said they would not have achieved their goal without the help of the Observer’s Hyndburn 600 Appeal, launched in November, which contributed £5,627 towards the final total. The appeal encouraged readers to give £50 to the cause. Those who did will get a special limited edition key ring and their names will be displayed on a roll of honour board in the school hall.

The remainder of the cash has come from a huge fund-raising campaign involving pupils, their parents and even their grandparents. The children carried out sponsored bag-packing at Asda Accrington, the Co-op in Great Harwood and Marks and Spencer’s in Lancaster, raising £1,000, and took part in several non-uniform days. The youngsters also paid £1 each to see the school close early for a day.

Mrs Parkinson said: “The pupils are now aware we have reached our target and they are quite excited. The fund-raising ideas that some of them have come up with have been fantastic.”

Staff at the school prepared the written bid, which had to be submitted to the Department for Education and Skills by 12 March 2004. Mrs. Parkinson said: “Once the bid is in we have to wait to see if we are short-listed. If we are there will be an inspection of the school and then we will have to wait to find out if we have been successful.”

The school stood to gain £100,000 to build the special resource centre plus £126 per pupil for five years â€" additional funding of over £430,000. This would benefit the wider community as well as the school, with people being able to use the facilities in the evenings, weekends and holiday periods.

On the 1st July 2004, it was announced that Norden had achieved its Sports College Status.

Norden School in July 2001.

Sports Hall

Nordens new £1.3 million sports hall opened on Monday 16th October 2006.

Sports Minister Richard Caborn officially opened the new facility at Norden High School and Sports College.

The facility will become available to local primary schools and the community as well as Norden pupils.

It was built with cash from the Big Lottery Fund's New Opportunities for PE and Sport programme.

Work started on the hall in January 2005, four months after the high school was granted specialist sports status.

The opening of the centre will see pupils able to enjoy PE and sport in top quality, weatherproof facilities all year round.

Additional sports were to be offered at the school, including trampolining and volleyball.

Mr Caborn was given a tour of the new sports hall and saw displays by pupils. County Councillor Alan Whittaker, cabinet member for schools at the time, said: "This is excellent news for Rishton and the surrounding community. It's about encouraging sporting achievement and community involvement. Norden's partner primary schools will be able to use the centre to assist in the delivery of school sports and out-of-hours learning, while the community will be able to use it during evenings and weekends for a variety of fitness programmes."

The new sports hall is another boost to the school's facilities, which already include a £300,000 all-weather pitch.

The Big Lottery Fund's New Opportunities for PE and Sport Programme was set up to supports schemes which benefit schools and the local community.

O.F.S.T.E.D. and The End

In June 2014, OFSTED, the Office for Standards in Education, said the school "required improvement", but by July 2016 The school was placed in special measures.

 Following the Ofsted inspection of the school in July 2016, the school became part of the United Learning trust of Academies. The school was rebranded as The Hyndburn Academy at the commencement of the September 2017 autumn term.

 Mr Tim Mitchell, the last  head master of Norden High School left for pastures new, and the school was amalgamated with Accringtons "Hyndburn Academy". Thus began a new chapter in our schools history.


Norden High School (County),

Stourton Street,



(01254 885378)


Brett Ormerod, the former Accrington Stanley, Blackpool, Southampton, Preston football player; actor Stephen Pinder (Max Farnham, Brookside).

1948 Football TeamNordens football team from 1948.
Class of 1990One of the classes from 1990.
Class of 20042004 Year group from Norden.


Environment Agency

1951 Rishton on Record George A. Knowlson

Accrington Observer Archive

A Hyndburn Chronology by Paul Lanham

Lancashire Evening Telegraph, October 25th 1997.

Rishton Urban District Council Minutes, various years.

Rishton on Record, The Festival of Britain 1951.

The Lancashire Evening Telegraph on Friday 05 July 19961

Lancashire Evening Telegraph, first published Monday 11th Mar 2002.