HODGSON Senior School opened on 5th September 1932. It followed the 1928 Education Act, which suggested to Local Education Authorities that they should build a new type of senior school for pupils’ aged 11 plus. At that time, apart from a few grammar and technical schools in large towns, most children remained at the same school from five until 14-years-old.
In the early-1930s, Poulton was a small town, with a population of 5,000, and the centre of a rural community. It had three schools – Poulton CE (then called Sheaf Street School), St John’s RC and Baines Grammar School (for those who passed an exam or paid). Alderman William Hodgson JP, who at this time was chairman of Lancashire Education Authority, was anxious for Poulton to have a new school to serve the town and local villages.
The school, named after local boy Hodgson, is Lancashire’s oldest mixed secondary school. It was officially opened during a ceremony on Saturday 12th November 1932, at 3.30pm. A framed photograph of Alderman Hodgson was unveiled, which remains in the school’s possession today.
The original school consisted of a hall, on the site of the present one but smaller, and had six classrooms. There was also a woodwork room, science lab, gardening room, epidiascope (large projector) room, library, domestic science room and art room.
The land between the old school and the railway was the playing field, accommodating football, hockey and athletics. The school also had an orchard, vegetable gardens and separate boys’ and girls’ yards. On Hodgson’s opening, there were seven members of staff and 193 pupils (compares with 107 and 1,125 respectively today).
The first staff meeting was held on 13th September 1932, to discuss the school colours and a badge.
5th September 1932 – Hodgson Senior School opens to pupils. The first Headmaster is John A. Farrand.
12th November 1932 – Official opening ceremony by County Councillor William Hodgson JP (later Sir), chairman of the Lancashire Education Committee.
3rd June 1935 – Hodgson’s founder Alderman William Hodgson is knighted for more than 50 years in public service.
26th February 1945 – Sir William Hodgson dies at his home, The Sycamores (house formally on site across from today’s Poulton Library)
at the age of 87. He has given 65 years’ of public service. Only days before his death, he had announced he was to retire from the chairmanship of Lancashire County Council.
2nd March 1945 – The funeral of Alderman Sir William Hodgson JP, is held at St Chad’s Church, Poulton. In the church, where Sir William had been a worshipper since his youth and a warden for nearly half-a-century, every pew is taken and many mourners cannot fit inside. A posse of police carries the coffin from The Sycamores to the church.
September 1949 – Headmaster Mr Farrand retires. He has steadily built up both the size and the reputation of the school over the years. The following month, Kenneth William Bland takes over the post. There are now 370 pupils and 14 members of staff.
19th July 1974 – Hodgson’s longest serving Headteacher Mr Bland retires after 25 years at the helm. There have been some major changes carried out at the school during Mr Bland’s headship, which include an extension to the main teaching block (now part of B Block) and a new assembly hall and sports hall.
September 1974 – David William Pickles becomes Headteacher. There are now more than 900 students. Further building work takes place over the next few years, to coincide with the raising of the school leaving age.
21st August 1981 – Mr Pickles resigns from his post, and, the following year, John Bowers becomes Hodgson’s fourth Headteacher. Hodgson has grown to more than 1,000 students and 56 teaching staff.
September 1982 – The school celebrates its Golden Jubilee. 19th June 1992 – A festival of expressive arts is held to mark Hodgson’s 60th anniversary.
March 1997 – Mr Bowers retires and the then deputy head Phil Wood takes over as Headteacher.
December 2001 – Mr Wood leaves Hodgson to become Headteacher of Lytham St Annes High School and is succeeded by Colin Simkins.
30th June 2007 – The school celebrated its 75th Anniversary with an open day. Visitors were treated to displays of archive photographs, documents and memorabilia, spanning from the school’s opening in 1932 to its present day. Special guests on the day included Evelyn Hartley and Elvina Bowden, who were amongst the school’s first intake in 1932.
December 2007 – Mr Simkins stepped down as Headteacher. His vision and passion had led Hodgson from strength to strength – the school’s GCSE results had catapulted by a remarkable 40 per cent since 2002 (5A*-C pass rate was 52 per cent in 2002 compared with 92 per cent in 2007). Tony Nicholson became Hodgson’s seventh Headteacher.
Summer 2009 – Former Headteacher Mr Simkins awarded an OBE for Services to Education, which included his work at Hodgson School.
December 2010 – Hodgson’s new sports hall officially opened by Blackpool Football Club’s captain Charlie Adams.
1st May 2011 – Hodgson School converts to Hodgson Academy, with company status.
October 2012 – Hodgson marked its 80th anniversary with an Intergenerational Literacy Festival.
Summer 2013 – Mr Nicholson is appointed Executive Principal, with responsibilities for Hodgson Academy and the sponsored academies. Toni Roethling is appointed Principal, with responsibility for the day-to-day running of Hodgson Academy.
Summer 2014 – Hodgson launches its new visionary statement – Imagine Believe Achieve. This motto was chosen to encapsulate Hodgson’s true ethos. The school encourages every student to imagine their future, believe in themselves and work hard to achieve their own goals.