Hindu College, allegedly the school's predecessor, was established in 1817 by Raja Rammohan Roy, David Hare, Radhakanta Deb and other notable educationists of that time. In 1855, the pathsala part of Hindu College became Hindu School and the other part (mahapathshala) became Presidency College. The date of establishment of the Hindu College, 1817, is considered the official establishment date of both Hindu school and Presidency College. The school is one of the oldest existing schools in Calcutta and India. Currently the school has grade 1 to 12 and the medium of instruction is Bengali. Students appear for 10+(Madhyamik) examination under West Bengal Board of Secondary Education and 12+(Higher Secondary Examination) examination under West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education. Grade 11 and 12 have three streams,- science, arts and commerce. It is a boys-only school with an approximate strength of 1100 students.
Prior to the advent of the British in India, the indigenous primary schools of Bengal taught very little beyond Bangla, simple Arithmetic and Sanskrit. The tols (local small schools run by individuals) imparted lessons in advanced Sanskrit, grammar and literature, theology, logic and metaphysics. This was not enough to satisfy the aspiration of the enlightened Indians like Raja Rammohun Roy, who felt that the process would only 'load the minds of youths with grammatical niceties and metaphysical distinctions' without having any practical use. The necessity of learning English was also keenly felt by people who had to carry on a constant interaction with the British businessmen. A few schools were set up with the purpose of providing rudimentary education in the English language to native Indians. Hindu School was one of them.
Early nineteenth century had witnessed an intellectual awakening in Bengal Society. The luminous ray of modern knowledge, education and thought procedure, influenced by European culture and impacted by British rule, had affected the contemporary life very materially. The various protest movements, formation of societies and associations, religious reform movements, coming of new styles in Bengali literature, political consciousness, and other emergent socio-political phenomena have been argued to be the positive symptoms of this Renaissance. Although it immediately affected a small portion of the upper stratum of Bengal Hindu society only, it eventually spread to Muslims (rather partially) through the Aligarh movement and others as well as to other parts of the subcontinent before the century ended. One of the prominent outcome of this Renaissance was change in the curriculum taught in the schools and establishment of new schools imparting modern and practical education. The idea of establishing an English school was already there. David Hare’s plan of English education in India received general approbation and Dewan Baidya Nath Mukherjee was deputed to collect the subscriptions. Sir Edward Hyde East, Chief Justice of the Calcutta Supreme Court was invited to chair the committee and Joseph Baretto became the Treasurer. The committee succeeded in raising Rupees 1,13,179.00, the principal donors being the Maharajah of Burdwan (Tejchand Bahadur) and Gopee Mohun Thakur, each contributing Rupees 10,000. On the opening day there were 20 pupils on the rolls but within the next three months the number swelled to 69. At a later date the pathshala got separated as Hindu School.