There has been a  Catholic school in the Ilkley area since the 16th century. It was founded through the generosity of the Middleton family.

Records show that there was still a school in Middleton village in the 19th century.


The foundation stone for the church of the Sacred Heart was laid in 1878 by Bishop Cornthwaite( then Bishop of Beverley).   It was thought advisable at the time to build a school alongside the church. We know that the school was attached to the Church as soon as the Church was built.

In 1899 the sisters of the Cross and Passion came to Ilkley and 'founded a school' in Ilkley.

The first official school Log Book for St Mary’s RC School (as it was then) starts on 4th April 1904. The school had three teachers including the headteacher and about 90 children on roll. The school year started each April.

Significant entries:

June 4th 1907 –“ Religious examinations was held this morning the registers were not marked.”

Aug 16th 1907 – Captain Walker, inspector of Drawing examined the children in drawing.

Oct 30th 1908 – the Medical inspection took place this week.

16th June 1911 – the school closed this afternoon for a week’s holiday for the Coronation.

15th June 1912 – school re-opens after three weeks closure due to measles.

19th April 1915 – a number of Belgian children were admitted.

10th July 1916 -  three children secured Full –fee scholarships to St Bedes’ Bradford and

St Joseph’s Bradford.

Sept 13th 1918 – School closed today for a week for Ilkley feast.

 Few entries were made between 13th Sept and 13th Dec due to influenza epidemic in the area.


14th Nov 1918 – A half day’s holiday was given on 13th  in honour of the declaration of peace.

18th April 1939 – gas mask drill taken and masks checked

7th July 1939 – black material ordered for the school windows etc

23rd Aug 1939 – Instructions re a state of national emergency received today.A large number of London evacuees were admitted today.

27th Aug 1939 – notice to close school was received on account of the national emergency. The school was closed for a whole week.

2nd May 1940 – The vaults of the Myddleton hotel have been kindly loaned to us for an air raid shelter.

10th Oct 1940 – Air-raid warning sounded – this was not heard in school. When we told by soldiers the temporary arrangement of shelter in the church was used.

19th April 1942 – Warships week – stamp cards distributed

8th/9th May 1945 – VE day Two da7s holiday from school


10th Nov 1947 – Miss Curry took children to an orchestral concert. She was visited by HMI inspectors during 1948 as this was her ‘Probation’ year. (Miss Curry is a lady in her 90s who still lives in Ilkley).

7th Oct 1954 – Inspection report states : “The school is a delightful place to visit and shows what can done in unpromising conditions by teachers determined to make the best of their circumstances”.

20th Sept 1955 -  the school is now divided into four classes:

Infants – Sr Paul Bernard

                        Junior 1 (7/8 yrs) - Miss Curry

                         Junior 2 ( 9/10/11yrs ) - Sr Michael Mary

                        Junior 3 (12/13/14 yrs) - Mrs Jones


15th Nov 1960 – Inspection reported that the school numbers had grown significantly and that the school was using the ‘ballroom’ in the Ilkley Moor hotel opposite as extra space.

1964 – note of donation to The Good shepherd fund’ of 19 pounds, 0 shillings 0 pennies

Major building programme 1966/67 in place

The St Mary’s J & I RC primary school opened in Valley Drive on 3rd September 1968 with 162 children on roll.There were five teachers including the Headmistress, Sr Petronilla and Deputy Headmistress, Miss Curry.

On 1st September 1988, the school opened under its new name : The Sacred Heart RC Primary School.

In April 2013, the school became a Voluntary Academy within the Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust.


Miss H Crowley ( 1904 – July 1907)

Miss M. Moore ( Aug 1907 – Feb 1909)

Miss Margaret Farrington (March 1909 – Aug 1923)

Miss Keating        

Miss Tyson  ( Sept 1943 - July 1963)

Sr Petronilla  (Sept 1963 – Aug 1973)

Sr Margaret Boner (Sept 1973 - Aug 1976)

Sr Margaret Travers (Sept 1976 - Aug 1979)

Miss Curry Acting Head (Sept 1979 - Dec 1979)

Mr P. M. McCarthy ( Jan 1980 - Aug 1984)

Miss Curry Acting Head ( Sept 1984 - Aug 1985 )

Mr McCarthy  (Sept 1985 - Dec 1985)

Mrs Aileen Madden ( Jan 1986  - Aug 2011)

Ms H.Cave Acting Head (Sept 2011 – Aug 2012)

Mrs Alixena Lubomski (Sept 2012 –to date)