Grammar school set to celebrate 90 years at Colyford

PUBLISHED: 07:01 16 November 2018

The science lab at the newly built Colyton Gammar School. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The science lab at the newly built Colyton Gammar School. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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Relocation to its village site was completed on January 15 - 1929

Colyton Grammar School after being constructed on its new site at Colyford in 1929. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDColyton Grammar School after being constructed on its new site at Colyford in 1929. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Overcrowded classrooms, lessons spilling out into other buildings, facilities unfit for purpose – issues experienced by Colyton Grammar School after the First World War.

It was the driving force behind its relocation from its namesake town to the neighbouring village of Colyford.

It was constructed in 1929 and now the 90th anniversary of its relocation is set to be celebrated.

The original school began life in 1546 in rooms above the porch at Colyton’s church.

Later it moved to School House, in Colyton, but by 1918 it was clear that pupil numbers and the deterioration of facilities meant there needed to be change.

Lessons were spilling over into St Andrew’s Hall, the Memorial Club and the Colcombe Castle Hotel.

In 1921 the governors carried out an audit of the difficulties facing the school –as the situation was becoming untenable. They wrote to the county council, saying the lavatories were ‘most detrimental, not only to the physical but the moral welfare of the children’ and reporting that on this issue alone parents were refusing to send their children to the school.

Discussions continued throughout the 1920s about where the new school would be built.

Work started on the new building at Colyford in 1927, and everyone pitched in to clear the site.

The new school opened on January 15, 1929, almost two years to the day that Mrs McKay Ohm, the headmaster’s wife, had cut the first turf. There was initial chaos and confusion – the central block and laboratories were still in the hands of the builders and there was the small problem of lead in the water to address – but the school soon settled and began a new chapter in its history, one which has recently culminated in Colyton Grammar School being recognised as the best-performing co-educational secondary school in the country.

The 90th Anniversary of the historic school sited at Colyford will be recognised with a special gala dinner on Saturday, January 12. For tickets, £45 per person, visit www.trybooking.co.uk/GEO or call 01297 552327

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