I am delighted to welcome you to the website for Colyton Grammar School. In 1546 our school was established "for the goodly and virtuous education of children forever”. Today, Colyton Grammar School continues to be a non-fee paying, high performing school for academically able boys and girls. Our goal is to create excellence through intellectual curiosity and creativity and to enable our students to thrive as they take their next steps into the world of university and the workplace. Our values and mission have not really altered from those of our Tudor founders in that we want our young men and women to be people of great principle, integrity and character who are equipped to become the future leaders of their community.

The School has a reputation for academic success and the overwhelming majority of our students progress to the most highly selective universities and places of learning in the UK including Oxford, Cambridge and the Royal College of Music. Our success is built on high expectations, hard work and the fact that we are an inclusive school built on meritocracy. We are a school for every academically able child regardless of social-economic background, ethnicity or gender.

Learning is at the heart of our community and through our outstanding teachers and support staff we nurture a hunger for knowledge and understanding in our learners. We are not satisfied with academic excellence alone but expect our students to make a serious contribution to the extra-curricular programme that is on offer at the school; from success on the sporting field to the delight of winning the National Bar Mock Trial competition. We place significant emphasis on developing the knowledge, skills, principles and values our students need in the 21st Century.

As Headteacher of Colyton Grammar School and also as a teacher of History, I believe that it is important to respect the past, to celebrate the present and to influence the future positively. Our curriculum has always been focused on challenge; on developing the whole person while maintaining rigorous academic and traditional values. Expectations are high and our aim is to be the best school in the country.

I am extremely proud and privileged to be the Headteacher of this great school in the heart of the South West. I hope that you find this website informative and we are happy to welcome visitors to the School.

Mr T J Harris BA (Hons) FCCT

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School History

In 1546 twenty yeomen and merchants the first Feoffees - bought some land from the Crown ‘for the benefit of Colyton’, and their first act was to endow a Grammar School ‘for the goodly and virtuous education of children in Colyton forever’.

The school’s first home was a room over the porch of the parish church of St Andrew. Later the Feoffees hired a room in the town. In 1612, the school moved to Church House, which had been enlarged by having another story built onto it.

The first Headmaster on record was William Hull, who came to the school in 1603, at a stipend of £5 a year.

In 1927, the school moved to purpose-built premises on its present day site, in the nearby village of Colyford, one mile from its original home in the centre of Colyton.

A short history of the school, called simply ‘Colyton Grammar School’, was written in the 1970s by Gerald Gosling - a former pupil. It was published by the Old Colytonians Association in 1978.

Extract from the foreword:

To write a book about a school that has been in existence for over four centuries, has had four homes, known twenty of our monarchs, all our Prime Ministers, has been through countless wars, two of them global, yet throughout the changes down the centuries has continued to send its children out into and around the world the better equipped to face it because of having been there, is no easy task, and could not have have been undertaken lightly.

It has not been so. Colyton Grammar School has done its best for its children. If this child has done his best for the School with this history, it is because of his having been there.

- G. J. Gosling

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Colyton Grammar School
Whitwell Lane
EX24 6HN
Tel: 01297 552327
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Tel: 01297 552327
Colyton Grammar School
Whitwell Lane
EX24 6HN
© Colyton Grammar School -
The Colyton Grammar School opened its doors to educate the poor children of Colyton
1603 William Hull was the first headmaster, he went onto be vicar of Colyton. 1610 Mr Dynham, new master. Over the next decade there were 9 different headmasters and 2 episodes of the plague to hit Colyton.
1792 The first headmistress Mrs Susanah Stokes, taught 5 boys. In 1795 Samuel Major led the school through the Napoleonic war years, well supported by the Feoffees
Early 1800
1815 Thomas Dawe Major, the Feoffees voted 10 free scholars from Colyton Parish. 1834, after 41 applicants they appointed Donald McNee Stirling. A historian whose published books were on Colyton and Seaton (pictured). 30 yrs headmaster, he died in office
Mid 1800
1875 CGS established itself as a day and boarding school. Master salary £80 pa, a free education to 6 boys elected by the Feoffees, & taught boys of Colyton for £4.4s. A troubled time followed with master Henry John Dodwell, from 12 boys to 1 in just 6m
Late 1800
1876 Jose Fortescue Gueritz, a keen cricketer the new master but a decline in boys meant CGS closed for a year. 1879 James Fowler re-opened the school with 6 boys, 1884 38 boys attended with the first students to pass University of Aberdeen and Naval exam
The school closed for 5 years as numbers dropped. 1905 Lothar Mermagen re opened with 60 boys, he had a assistant Mr W. Carl. Standards rose quickly and the school could now get a government grant
1913 Winifred Tolman and Una Gill were the first girls of CGS. A board of Governors appointed. Donald McKay Ohm was master of 70 pupils. He sourced a school bus for Seaton & Axminster pupils. Space was limited. Sir Frederick de la Pole gifted a swimming p
1921 Governors handed the school over to Devon County Council. 1929 moved to the first purpose built school of the century, with a war memorial in the entrance.
150 pupils attended, rising to nearly 200 with evacuees. Free milfk from Mr Pady of Dares Farm. Started to be recognised for good academic attainment in Maths and Science.
Mr McKay Ohm retired after 25 years at the school. New headteacher appointed, Mr Standing in 1949. James Allen's School, Dulwich were evacuated to area
Mr Jowett stood as acting head (after his 34 year service to the school), Mr Morison was appointed with over 200 pupils at the school space was limited. 1955 the school increased to 2 forms of entry. Alumni were invited back to school Florence David from
Two new labs were built as atomic Physics where to be included in the G.C.E. A successful P.A was established in Colyton.
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