The William Parker Sports College, formerly known as Hastings Grammar School, and later as William Parker School, is a secondary school in Hastings, East Sussex in the United Kingdom. It is now the only all-boys' secondary school in East Sussex, and has achieved specialist Sports College status.
It takes boys from age 11 to age 16, and there is a separate Sixth form which is shared with Helenswood School, a local girls' school. There are over a thousand boys in years 7–11 and about three hundred boys and girls in the shared sixth form. Helenswood has places for 1100 girls in years 7-11. Other local secondary schools include the co-educational Hillcrest, The Grove and Filsham Valley. Each school takes approximately 200 pupils in a year.
In September 2005 the school took over the running of its own catering to provide its students with better quality and more reasonably priced food. This change was spurred on by Jamie Oliver's campaign for better school meals. The school's catering service is called Café Parker and has a logo designed in-house by a year 10 graphics student, Daniel Chantler.
The lessons taught in the Upper school are:
The lessons taught in the Lower school are:
The college is divided into eight houses for sporting and pastoral purposes, each of which has its own colour:
Parker's nephew William became Mayor of Hastings, and his nephew's son (also William) later became master of the school. Titus Oates, son of the rector of All Saints, Samuel Oates, and later infamous for fabricating a papish plot against the monarchy, started his career by bringing false charges against both William Parkers in an attempt to create a vacancy for the post of master. Records of early masters are incomplete, but in 1759 John Shorter was appointed master, once again by another William Parker, mayor elect.
In 1708 a Kentish landowner by the name of James Saunders made various charitable legacies in his will, including provisions for a schoolmaster in Rye and a schoolmaster and two school mistresses in Hastings. One of the mistresses was to teach 30 pupils in the parish of All Saints and the other in the parish of St Clements, at a salary of £10 per year. The master was to teach reading, writing, Latin, accounting, mathematics and navigation to any poor child in Hastings "from the Seagate next the Fish Market", at a salary of £40 per year, subject to a maximum of 70 pupils. Saunders stipulated that the corporation of each of the towns concerned should oversee the way the other operated their school, with the penalty for failing to comply with the terms of the bequest that all the funds should go to the other town.
Falling income from the two charities meant that by 1809 one master, Joseph Hannay, was employed to teach forty boys on behalf of the Parker school, and fifteen for the Saunders school. The Saunders fund continued to pay two schoolmistresses ten pounds each per year, while the master received three pounds per child. Local complaints about the low rents being charged by the corporation for the Parker fund lands had led to increases from £49 in 1787 to £134 in 1809, but the council also turned down an offer from one James Halloway to rent the estate for £205. Thomas Breeds, another prominent local man, applied to the High Court of Chancery arguing that the funds were being improperly administered, with the result that he himself rented them for £210, no higher bid being received at a public auction. The expenses of the case were paid by the funds, with the result that the Saunders school had to close for five years, but afterwards two separate masters were appointed.
The two were permanently re-merged in 1878, together with part of the Magdalen trust, to form the Hastings Grammar School Foundation. An imposing Victorian building was constructed in a prominent position overlooking Hastings, at Standen's High Field which became Nelson road, and occupied in July 1883. The school was originally designed as a central tower with wings either side. Owing to lack of funds, the wing intended as accommodation for the headmaster and boarders was never built.
In 1959 the school governors decided to change the status of the school from voluntary aided to voluntary controlled. The school was now controlled by a board of ten governors appointed by the borough of Hastings and five appointed by the charitable foundation. The charitable funds remained under the control of the foundation governors, but responsibility for providing buildings now fell to the education authority. A new modern building was constructed further from the town centre, on 42 acres of land which had long been used as the school's playing fields. The new school was designed for 570 boys, including a sixth form of 120, and is now the Parkstone Road half of the school. The foundation stone of the new school was laid on 4 July 1962, and the school occupied in 1964.
The incoming Labour government of 1965 introduced a change in national education policy intended to phase out grammar school education and replace it with comprehensive education. This was resisted by the borough of Hastings, but local government reorganisation under the following Conservative administration meant that the autonomous county borough was abolished and replaced by East Sussex County Council as the education authority. A decision was taken to change to a comprehensive school intake, and at the same time to merge the school with Hastings Secondary School. A further new building was constructed on the same site, but reached by a separate road entrance in Park Avenue. The school was renamed "the William Parker School".
In 1998, the school achieved specialist Sports College status, following the new opening of an athletics arena.
Towards 2000 the Alan Booth Jones Cricket centre opened, which featured indoor cricket and other sports facilities used both by the school and externally.
In 2006, the school re-instated the roles of Head Boy, Deputy Head Boy and Prefects for the Year 7-11 year group. They are chosen from the current group of year 11s and are distinguished from the rest of the year group by their tie, which is dark blue with the school crest and the person's role.