In 1748, a Charity School was founded by the Honourable Rev. John Stanley, Rector of Bury and younger brother of the 11th Earl of Derby. The exact location of this original school is unknown, but it was most likely a borrowed property near to Bury Parish Church. Approximately eighty boys and thirty girls were taught reading, writing, arithmetic, Old Testament and New Testament knowledge and the catechism.
In 1772, £500 was invested by a variety of benefactors (including Lord Derby, John Stanley and Sir Robert Peel), which went towards constructing a purpose built school building on Clough Street in Bury. Yet again, forty-two years on, the school moved, this time to the three story £1000 purpose built building on Stanley Street. The school was renamed to Central National School at this time. In 1835 the school contained two hundred and eighty children aged between six and thirteen.
In 1836, a second national school opened on the west side of Bury called The Irwell National School. By 1887 though, the Central National School and Irwell National School were closed due to inadequacy of the buildings, and so they combined into a new building in Lower Band Street. Five years after this merge the school became co-educational.
From 1906 to 1921 the school was known as Bury St. Mary’s Parochial Church of England School. Then, in 1921, the school was renamed once again, this time to Church Central School, now with one hundred and twenty-two children aged between eleven and fourteen. This was also the year that French was introduced.
It was as early as 1931 when plans to rebuild the school were made, but due to the Second World War these plans couldn’t come to fruition until the early 1960s. In 1963, Lord Derby laid the foundation stone of the new building and, in September 1964, the new school opened in its current location and from this point onward has been called Bury Church of England High School.
Since then, the school has continued to expand with the construction of F Block in the 1970s, the new sports hall in 2004, followed by the conversion of the old sports hall into the library, new music room, and SEN room.
In January 2022 the school became a Church of England Academy and joined the Bishop Fraser Trust. The Bishop Fraser Trust was established in December 2017 in Bolton. Canon Slade School and St James’s CE High School came together as convertor academies with the ambition to secure best practice, uphold the positive aspects of tradition and a provide distinctive Christian education for our families.
Bishop James Fraser was a former Bishop of Manchester and established the Diocesan Board of Education. He was appointed to the role in 1870 and rejected the comfortable bishop’s residence, instead preferring to live in the city centre so he would be closer to the people. Joining the Trust was important to us a school as the values of Bishop Fraser to deliver excellence in education for all mirrors our own mission.
Below are several image galleries, one of old building photographs, one of key figures from the schools past, and many of past pupils ranging from 1953 to 1973.