Szerb Antal Gimnázium
The history of the 'Szerb Antal' Secondary Grammar School

The history of the 'Szerb Antal' Secondary Grammar School in Cinkota goes back 120 years. Cinkota is the name of part of the 16th district in Budapest.


In the 1860s, in the times of national hopes of our country, women of nobility and the upper middle-class started unionizing and in 1861 they set up the Hungarian National Circle of Housewives. The main goal of this organisation was to establish an institution for practical and intellectual education of poorer children, especially middle-class girls. The organisation, led by Count Lajos Batthyány’s widow, opened its first orphanage and elementary school in the 7th district in Budapest in 1866.

The written documents belonging to our school date back to 1883. In the last decades of the century the school was operating as a civil school. By the end of the century the downtown school had proved to be too small, so they accepted Countess Ilona Batthyány's offer of part of the park belonging to her own mansion for the sake of the cause. The current two-storey, almost 100-meter long, grand building was built between 1904 and 1906. In 1919 the government bought the building and relocated the Hungarian Royal State Teacher Training College from Bratislava here. It served as a Teacher Training College together with the Training School. The school was still patronized by Ilona Batthyány until her death in 1929.

The mansion was burnt down in 1944 during World War II. Later the entire building was pulled down and the school sports-ground can be found at its place today. It had been the centre of teacher training in Hungary until 1955 when the first secondary grammar school class was started and from then it gradually turned into a secondary grammar school. The last teachers graduated here in 1959 and in the same year the first final exams of secondary education were held. In 1969 there were 17 grammar school classes with several faculties: Russian-English, German-French, Chemistry-Biology, and Chemistry-Physics. At that time there were compulsory practice days also, so the students had to take part in ornamental planting, breeding of small animals, ceramics, and glass-grinding.

Today the school has A, B, C, and D classes. Classes A and B are six-grade classes, so from the age of 12 to 18. Class C is four-grade with students from the age of 14 to 18, and class D which is 5-grade with students between the ages of 14-19. The school has 21 classes with over 650 students. The number of teachers is 55. In 1969 the school was named after Antal Szerb, a famous Hungarian writer, and has had the same name since then.

(Vinczéné Farkas Györgyi)

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