Truro School

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Truro School
Motto Esse quam videri (Latin)
To be, rather than to seem to be
Established 1880
Type Independent
Day and boarding
Religion Methodist
Headmaster Andrew Gordon-Brown
Location Trennick Lane
DfE number 908/6079
Students 1050~ (2011)
Gender Coeducational
Ages 3–18
Houses 4
Former pupils Old Truronians

Truro School is a coeducational independent day and boarding school in the city of Truro, Cornwall, England, UK. It is the largest coeducational independent school in Cornwall with over 1050 pupils from pre-prep to sixth form.


Truro Wesleyan Middle Class College (referred to as Truro College) was founded by Wesleyan Methodists in November 1879, and on 20 January 1880 lessons began at sites in River Street and Strangways Terrace, Truro.[1] The present site was completed in 1882. The school was founded as an alternative to the Church of England's ancient Truro Grammar School. The name Truro College was changed to Truro School in 1931 when it was considered that it was " claim the style of "College" if its pupils are for the most part below the age of 18".[2] The preparatory department was opened in 1936. Girls were admitted into the sixth form in 1976,[3] and it became fully co-educational in 1990.[4] In 2005, a history of the school entitled High on the Hill was produced by Joanna Wood to commemorate its 125th anniversary.

The school has had ten Headmasters since its foundation 133 years ago:

  • George Turner (1880–1887)
  • Thomas Jackson (1887–1890)
  • Herbert Vinter (1890–1921)
  • Egbert H. Magson[5] (1921–1946)
  • A. Lowry Creed (1946–1959)
  • Derek Burrell (1959–1986)
  • Barry Hobbs (1986–1991)
  • Brian Jackson, Acting Headmaster (1991–1992)
  • Guy Dodd (1992–2001)
  • Paul Smith (2001–2012)
  • Andrew Gordon-Brown (2013–present)[6]

Admission and fees

Pupils must sit an entrance exam, the equivalent of an 11+ exam, although some pupils take the equivalent 13+ exam as certain local schools still teach up to year 9 (year 3). Academic, and occasionally music, artistic or sports scholarships, are also awarded as well as are means-tested bursaries. Current fees range from £2,850 per term at the Prep School for Nursery and Reception day pupils[7] to £7,900 per term for full boarders at the Senior School.[8]

In November 2005 the school was one of 50 private schools found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, exposed by The Times, which had resulted in them increasing fees for thousands of parents.[9] Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000 and all agreed to make an ex-gratia payment, collectively totalling £3 million, into a trust designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period where the fee information was shared.[10] Headmaster Paul Smith said that the school had acted "unwittingly".[11] "This ... systematic exchange of confidential information as to intended fee increases was anti-competitive and resulted in parents being charged higher fees than would otherwise be the case," the OFT stated.[12]

Site and facilities

Built on a hilltop overlooking the city of Truro and its nineteenth century Cathedral, the senior school's campus' facilities include the school chapel, Burrell Theatre (named after Derek Burrell, headmaster from 1959–1988), a covered and heated swimming pool, two gymnasiums, 40 acres (160,000 m2) of sports fields, tennis and squash facilities, an astro-turf pitch, the newly refurbished Dodd library, and the Sir Ben Ainslie Sports' Centre, opened by former pupil Ben Ainslie in 2013. The senior school is almost entirely situated on a hill and is well adapted for disabled students.[citation needed]

Form and house system

The school uses the traditional numbering system for year groups: the lower school – years 1 to 5, and the sixth form – lower- and upper-sixth years. This is equivalent to years 7 to 13 in modern state schools. Years 1 to 3 are split into forms for most lessons although Maths and Foreign languages are structured into sets according to ability. For the GCSE (years 4 and 5) forms are sub-divided into smaller sets for most subjects. This continues into the sixth form.

Each pupil is placed into a school 'house' used for inter-school competitions and sports matches:[13]

  • School (green) (Head of House: Mr D. Meads)
  • Smith (blue) (Head of House: Mr A. Pomery)
  • Vinter (gold) (Head of House: Mr R. Picton)
  • Wickett (red) (Head of House: Mrs S. Mulready)

The four houses compete for the Opie Shield over many sporting events for boys, girls and mixed teams across all year groups. Former Deputy Head Anita Firth introduced non-sporting events such as the "Top House" competition, an inter-house quiz along the lines of University Challenge, and the House Song Competition. The shield is presented annually on Speech Day by the Headmaster to the captains of the house accruing the most number of points across the disciplines.


Though the majority of students are day-pupils, there are also some 50 boarders, of whom a quarter are from overseas, including a dozen German exchange students who spend up to three terms in the Lower Sixth.

The school has four boarding houses[14] – two for boys and two for girls:

  • Trennick – Senior boys (ages 15–18)
  • Pentreve – Junior boys (ages 11–14)
  • Malvern – Senior Girls (ages 15–18)
  • Poltisco – Junior Girls (ages 11–14)

Trennick is the only boarding house situated in the school's original main building, although the other three are on the campus. They are family-run communities with married resident house staff and other teachers who live on site. Temporary and 'flexi-boarding' are also available.

Preparatory and pre-preparatory school

Truro School has its own feeder school for the age group 3–11. Treliske School was founded in 1936 and is situated within the grounds of Truro Golf Course, near Treliske Hospital. There have only been four headmasters since inception: Tommy Stratton (1936–60), Alan Ayres (1960–89), Russell Hollins (1989–2004) and Matthew Lovett since 2004. It was recently renamed Truro School Preparatory School, or TruroPrep. Originally a boys school, it became co-educational in 1989. The building to accommodate Willday House, the Pre-Preparatory School originally located in Trennick Lane, was added in 1991. In 2010 an extension to double the size of the Willday House was completed to accommodate an increased demand for Pre-Prep pupils. There were 240 pupils (135 boys, 105 girls) in the 2008–09 academic year. Current fees range from £2150 to £3045 per term.

School uniform

The school uniform for the lower years is a navy blazer with the white school crest on the breast pocket and a blue tie with brown and white diagonal stripes. Until recently, ties were awarded for performance in activities which could either be full or half colours; these featured a plain blue tie with a crest on it (previously a full colour pattern of the schools crest). This system has been changed to one of 'badges', worn on the blazer (lower school) or jacket (sixth form), awarded for music, drama and sports. The rest of the uniform consists of a white shirt/blouse with black trousers or a school kilt for girls. In 2004, the sixth form moved away from the wearing of school uniform, and introduced 'business dress' for the pupils. Jackets must still be worn, with a formal shirt and tie for boys.


The school teaches the full range of arts, science and social science subjects to GCSE and A-Level. The sciences are taught as three separate subjects as this allows students a greater choice of A-Level options and beyond. From 2007/2008 onwards the three separate sciences became compulsory subjects for GCSE in place of the previous option to take up a combined science course in the 4th year. Geology has also been introduced as a GCSE option. Previously pupils had to have extracurricular lessons for Geology at GCSE level. French and German are both taught in the 1st and 2nd year and Spanish is a further option in year 3.

School publications

The students produce three magazines: Apparatus Criticus (English), Rigor Mortis (History) and Spark (Current Affairs), the latter being established by Upper Sixth pupils in September 2008. All students receive a copy of Terraces, a magazine highlighting events from the previous year, at the beginning of September. This magazine is produced within the school by a member of staff. A twice yearly newsletter is also sent to the homes of pupils.

Notable alumni

Notable alumni of Truro School include Jaws actor Robert Shaw, Queen drummer Roger Taylor, actors John Rhys-Davies and Nigel Terry; automobile designer Geoffrey Healey; international opera singers Benjamin Luxon and Alan Opie; several Members of Parliament (including current MPs George Eustice and Mark Prisk); Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie; and England international rugby union captain John Kendall-Carpenter.[15]


  1. Wood (2005), 9–10
  2. Wood (2005), 81
  3. Wood (2005), 136
  4. Wood (2005), 163
  5. Wood, (2005), 78, 191
  6. "Truro School welcomes new headmaster". Business Cornwall. 3 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Truro School website fee information". Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Truro School website fee information". Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Halpin, Tony (10 November 2005). "Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees". The Times. London. Retrieved 26 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. The Office of Fair Trading: OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement
  11. "Truro School fined £10,000". The Truro Packet. Newsquest Media Group. 2 March 2006. Retrieved 22 April 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  12. Taylor, Matthew (10 November 2005). "Top 50 independent schools found guilty of price-fixing to push up fees". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Truro School Information for new boarders" (PDF). Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Truro School Information for new boarders" (PDF). Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Wood (2005), 184–189.


  • Wood, Joanna (2005). High on the Hill. Blue Hills Publishing. ISBN 0-9549005-1-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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