Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 24, 2016
Webpage updated: February 01, 2020

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When the Board of Education introduced a new Code of Practice in 1876 it required Stoke Public School for Poor Boys and Girls, which had been founded in 1819 and been located in Keppel Place since 1835, to be split into Higher and Lower divisions.  A partition was therefore constructed which put 170 boys into the Lower school and 100 into the Higher School.  Both, it would seem, were then renamed the Stoke Public Higher School.  Direct admission to the Higher School was allowed by means of an 11+ examination.  The fee for boys in the Higher school was nine shillings a quarter.

The Nelson Extension, named after Major-General R J Nelson, was brought into use in August 1877 at a cost of 270.  In 1880 some adjoining land was purchased for another extension to take 130 boys and 80 girls.  Although the accepted tender was for 590 it actually cost 1,004 to complete the building.  It was brought into use in January 1881.  Numbers 1 and 2 Keppel Place were allegedly purchased in 1884 for an Infants' School but it is not clear if this was opened immediately.

Mr and Mrs Alonzo Rider both resigned in 1896 in order to start their own school, the forerunner of Devonport High School for Boys, and Mr William Henry Crang (1861-1946) was appointed as headmaster.

All good schools in those days had "drill" as a part of the curriculum but in June 1901 the Devonport Park and Pleasure Grounds Committee of Devonport Corporation declined to give permission 'for the boys of Stoke Public School to be drilled in the playground at the Blockhouse'.

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

On November 23rd 1906 the School was sold to the Devonport Local Education Authority, the part that was leased from the Manor authority being sold to the Corporation for 370.  The Trustees gave the Corporation a cheque for 575 17s 11d as the balance of the School's funds.  The official date of the transfer of ownership was November 1st 1906.  The last Prize Day of Stoke Public Higher School was held in the Devonport Town Hall on Thursday December 20th 1906.

Thus Stoke Public Higher School became Devonport Higher Elementary School although it was also referred to as Stoke Higher Elementary School.