Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 13, 2016.
Webpage updated: July 10, 2017

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On the day that the Anglican Church of Saint John the Baptist opened in Plymouth-Dock, March 1st 1799, a school for girls was also opened.

In 1809 new premises in Saint John Street were erected by subscription.  This enabled boys to be admitted.  At that time the School was being run by followers of Mr Joseph Lancaster, who in 1808 had formed the Royal Lancastrian Society to promote a system of education whereby the older pupils passed on their knowledge to the younger children in small groups.  The older pupils were known as monitors.  Not long afterwards, Mr Lancaster cut himself off from the movement and it was renamed the British and Foreign School Society.


On Saturday August 21st 1813 the School celebrated its fourth anniversary.  At 11am on that day some 250 boys assembled at the School premises and marched to Saint Aubyn's Chapel, as it then was, with the master and most of the subscribers to the School at their head.  There, during Divine Service, they were preached 'an excellent sermon' by their president, the Reverend Jonathan Williams.  Afterwards the subscribers met in the School to receive the annual report and to elect the committee and officers for the ensuing year.  Nearly fifty of them then proceeded to the King's Arms to 'partake of a sumptuous entertainment', following which there were speeches from the Reverend Williams and, by deputy, from the secretary, Mr Henry J Johns.   Many loyal songs were sung during the entertainment.  Why a School aligned to Saint John's Church went to Saint Aubyn's Chapel was not explained.


By 1850 the School was being run under the principles of the National Society for Promoting Religious Education and there were 200 boys and 80 girls attending.  Mr J Underhill was in charge of the boys and Miss Toney in charge of the girls' school in Duke Street.  It was at one time also known as the Devonport National Schools.

Following the adoption of the Education Act 1902 on June 1st 1903, the School became a "Non-provided" School under the Devonport Local Education Authority.