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Plymouth College

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Plymouth College
Plymouth College Logo Colour.jpg
, ,

TypePublic school
Independent day and boarding school
MottoDat Deus Incrementum
FounderFH Colson and LF Griffiths
Department for Education URN113609 Tables
Chairman of governorsRichard Light
HeadJo Hayward
Age3 to 18
Former pupilsOld Plymothians and Mannameadians (OPMs)
School songCarmen Collegii Plymothiensis
Plymouth College main building at dusk
Plymouth College main building at dusk

Plymouth College is a co-educational independent school in the English public school tradition. It is located in Plymouth, Devon. It accepts day and boarding pupils from the age of 3 to 18. It was founded as a boys' school in 1877 and became coeducational in 1995.


The school was established in 1877, and in 1896 it bought out Mannamead School (founded in 1854), and was temporarily known as Plymouth and Mannamead College (hence the surviving abbreviation PMC).[1]

The School's motto, Dat Deus Incrementum – God Gives The Increase, is the same as that of Westminster School, Marlborough College and Tonbridge School. In 1976, the first girls were admitted to the school's sixth form. It became fully coeducational in 1995. In 2004, the school absorbed St Dunstan's Abbey School, an independent school for girls that had been founded by Lydia Sellon.[2] The combined school is still known as Plymouth College and remains at Ford Park, near Mutley Plain, just north of the city centre. The preparatory school was located a mile south-west, within the gated Millfields complex at Stonehouse until 2021, when it was moved onto the main Ford Park site.[citation needed]


Plymouth College is an independent school for pupils from the ages of 3 to 18. Its head is Mrs Jo Hayward, who is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. The school has a non-selective intake but admission is by way of its entrance assessment at the age of 11, or by way of Common Entrance at 13, although applications are considered at any other times and are not unusual at the beginning of GCSE courses and the Sixth Form.[citation needed]

The school offers A levels and the Sports Baccalaureate in the Sixth Form.

The School has four houses named after past influential masters and headmasters:

  • Sargents (green)
  • Palmers (red)
  • Dales (yellow)
  • Chaytors (blue)

Two other houses used to exist but were dissolved and the pupils distributed between the existing ones. This was to increase the strength of the competition. The older houses were College (black) and Thompsons (purple). Before 1953, there were four houses: College (black), Palmers (white), Sargents (blue) and Thompsons (green). In 1953, two further houses were created: Chaytors (purple) and Dales (yellow). Up to at least 1981, the colours appeared only as the background to the badge on the school cap. The houses compete against each other in a range of activities throughout the year for the Forsyth Cup.[citation needed]

Boarders at the school were previously accommodated in two houses: College House (previously split into Colson House and Mannamead House), situated at Ford Park, and Captain's House for those in the Elite Swimming Programme, near the Preparatory School site. Captain's House was closed in 2017, with all boarders now accommodated on the Ford Park site. There has been a preparatory school on various Plymouth sites since the school's foundation; it currently accepts children aged 3 to 11. In 2005, the Prep Schools of Plymouth College and St Dunstans's Abbey combined to form Plymouth College Preparatory School, based at the St Dunstan's site.

The School also has a CCF (Combined Cadet Force). Entry is voluntary and takes place at Year 10 for boys and girls. Service is for two years initially, but NCOs are chosen from those cadets who stay into the Sixth Form, as well as those who show merit and leadership in Years 10 and 11. There are three sections from which to choose: Army, Navy and RAF.[citation needed]


The school is involved with a wide range of competitive sports. The performance swimming programme won a swimming bronze at the 2008 Olympic Games, and at the 2012 Olympic Games fifteen-year-old Rūta Meilutytė won the gold medal in the 100m breaststroke for Lithuania.[3] Multiple pupils have been selected to swim for England and Great Britain and the swimming programme is offered in a partnership with the Plymouth Leander Swimming Club.[4][5]

The school also runs a Modern Pentathlon and Fencing Academy from which athletes have competed in world, European and national competitions[citation needed]. The Academy has produced more than 50 national champions in fencing, biathle, biathlon, triathlon, tetrathlon and pentathlon.

The diving partnership with Plymouth Diving saw Tom Daley become World Champion in 2009 and take bronze in the 2012 London Olympics. At the age of 13, Victoria Vincent was the youngest member of Team England in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

In 2019, the Girls Under-14 hockey team won the English Tier 2 National Hockey Championships, beating Sutton Valence School on penalty flicks in the final

The Whiteworks Outward Bound centre on Dartmoor has a 20-bed bunkhouse[6] and the school owns further grounds featuring rugby and cricket pitches at Delgany, Derriford, about two miles north of the Ford Park campus.

Charitable status

The previous Labour British Government and the Charity Commission indicated that independent schools would lose their charitable status if they could not clearly demonstrate that in addition to having high fees and exceptional facilities they also provide a measurable benefit to the local community and admit or provide places and education for the poor. Plymouth College facilities are widely used by local organisations, bursaries and scholarships are available and there is an evolving pattern of outreach and links with the city and community.[5]

Former teachers

Notable alumni

Former pupils of Plymouth College are known as OPMs (Old Plymothians and Mannameadians). Former pupils of St Dunstan's are now included. The OPM Club has rooms on the campus including a large bar and its own catering facilities with a balcony overlooking the cricket pitches and seaward.


  1. ^ Chris Robinson, 'Plymouth College, The First Hundred Years', 2005, Pen & Ink.
  2. ^ A Sermon Archived 19 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Ascot Priory, retrieved 26 April 2015
  3. ^ "London 2012 100m Breaststroke Women". Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b "ISI Inspectorate Report 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 12 April 2008.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Commercial Welcome". Archived from the original on 4 March 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2008.
  7. ^ Ball referred to the school during his BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs interview (broadcast on 2 March 2008) and described his time as a boarder as a "horrible experience". "Desert Island Discs with Michael Ball". Desert Island Discs. 2 March 2008. BBC. Radio 4.
  8. ^ Clive Whitehead (3 October 2003). Chapter 2: The Intellectual Calibre of the Indian Education Service. Colonial Educators: The British Indian and Colonial Education Service 1858–1983. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9781860648649. Retrieved 31 July 2012.

External links

This page was last edited on 28 November 2021, at 01:50
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