Plymouth College

Plymouth College
Motto Dat Deus Incrementum
Established 1877
Type Independent day and boarding school
Public school
Head Mr J Standen
Chairman of governors Christopher Robinson
Founder Mr FH Colson and Mr LF Griffiths
Location Plymouth
DfE URN 113609 Tables
Staff 60 full time, 15 part time.[1]
Students 758[2]
Gender Co-educational
Ages 3–18
Houses 4
Colours Black
Former pupils Old Plymothians and Mannameadians (OPMs)
School song Carmen Collegii Plymothiensis
Plymouth College main building at dusk

Plymouth College is a co-educational independent school in Plymouth, Devon, England, for day and boarding pupils from the ages 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 its older rival Mannamead School (founded in 1854), and was temporarily known as Plymouth and Mannamead College (hence the surviving abbreviation PMC).[3]

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, which also saw the end of Saturday morning lessons. In 2004, the school absorbed St Dunstan's Abbey School, an independent school for girls that had been founded by Lydia Sellon.[4] 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 is a mile south-west, within the gated Millfields complex at Stonehouse.


Plymouth College is an independent school for pupils from the ages of 3 to 18. Its headmaster is Mr Jonathan Standen, who is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. Mr Chris Gatherer is the headmaster of the Prep School. The school has a non-selective intake but admission is by way of its annual entrance examination 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.

The school offers A levels as the principal sixth-form course (years 12 and 13) option, running alongside the International Baccalaureate. The potential merits and practicalities of the Cambridge Pre-U examination are under continuing review by the governors.

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

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.

Boarders at the school, of which about 40% are from abroad, are 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. There has been a preparatory school on various Plymouth sites since the school's foundation; it currently accepts children aged 3 to 11, with a roll in excess of 300. 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. There are three sections from which to choose: Army, Navy and RAF.


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 Ruta Meilutyte won the gold medal in the 100m breaststroke for Lithuania. The number of pupils who have been selected to swim for England and Great Britain is now well into double figures and the swimming programme is offered in a partnership with the Plymouth Leander Swimming Club.[5][6]

The school also runs a Modern Pentathlon and Fencing Academy which regularly sees athletes compete in world, European and national competitions. 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.

The Whiteworks Outward Bound centre on Dartmoor has a 20-bed bunkhouse[7] and the school owns further grounds featuring rugby and cricket pitches at Delgany, Derriford, about two miles north of the Ford Park campus.

Economics and Business Studies

Plymouth College has the reputation of being one of the best business schools in the UK. It has had the highest scoring student in the UK at A level for Economics and Business Studies in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and the highest performing business student in the UK at GCSE in 2004, 2006 and 2010. In addition to this it has also had a further 20 students in the national top twenty at A level and GCSE during the last 10 years. The department has also become a national leader in financial literacy and students now study both the Certificate (CeFS) and Diploma (DipFS) in Financial Studies. The department was awarded two educational excellence awards in 2008 and 2009 for its work in this field by the ifs:school of finance. The Business Department at the College has also won the CIMA Management Competition (3 times), The Young Business Writer of the Year, The Share Forecast Challenge, Make Your Mark (2 times), Student Investor (2 times) and Young Enterprise, making it the most successful school in the UK in the field of business/ enterprise competitions. Most recently, Ecovation, a business set up by pupils in the Sixth Form, was awarded Youth Social Enterprise of the Year by Social Enterprise UK. Business and Economics teacher Jonathan Shields also won the secondary school teacher of the year prize in 2010 for his work in making the business/economics department the national leader.


Annual day fees: £12,510 – £14,760, Annual full boarding £24,855 – £28,260.[8]

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.[6]

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. "Plymouth College". Retrieved 2008-03-12.
  3. Chris Robinson, 'Plymouth College, The First Hundred Years', 2005, Pen & Ink.
  4. A Sermon, Ascot Priory, retrieved 26 April 2015
  5. 1 2 "ISI Inspectorate Report 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 12 April 2008.
  6. "Commercial Welcome". Archived from the original on 4 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-12.
  7. "Plymouth College". Retrieved 2008-04-12.
  8. 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. 2008-03-02. BBC. Radio 4.
  9. 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. Retrieved 31 July 2012.

Coordinates: 50°23′03″N 4°08′14″W / 50.38417°N 4.13722°W / 50.38417; -4.13722

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/15/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.