Truro School

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Truro School
Trennick Lane

, ,

TypePublic school
Day and boarding
MottoEsse quam videri (Latin)
To be, rather than to seem to be
Religious affiliation(s)Methodist
HeadmasterAndy Johnson
Age3 to 18
Enrolment1050~ (2011)
Former pupilsOld 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. It is a member School of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference of Leading Independent Schools. Membership of the HMC is often considered to be what defines a school as a public school in England and Wales.[1][2]


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.[3] 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".[4] The preparatory department was opened in 1936. Girls were admitted into the sixth form in 1976,[5] and it became fully co-educational in 1990.[6] In 2005, a history of the school entitled High on the Hill was produced by Joanna Wood to commemorate its 125th anniversary. In 2017 the Daily Telegraph reported that A level pupils from Truro School went on a 'cocaine and alcohol binge' during a Tenerife field trip 'with one student ending up in hospital.' Headmaster Andrew Gordon-Brown insisted to parents that he takes a "hard line" on drugs and that all students are educated about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.[7]

There have been 12 headmasters appointed since the foundation of the school 141 years ago: George Turner (1880–1887), Thomas Jackson (1887–1890), Herbert Vinter (1890–1921), Egbert H. Magson (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 (2013–2020)[8] and Andy Johnson (2020 -)

Admission and fees[edit]

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 per term range from £3,200 - £4,500 at the Prep School for Nursery and Prep day pupils[9] to £4,900 for senior school day pupils and £9,700 - £10,600 for full boarders.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12] Headmaster Paul Smith said that the school had acted "unwittingly".[13] "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 Office of Fair Trading said.[14]

Site and facilities[edit]

Built on a hilltop overlooking Truro, the senior school's campus' facilities include the school chapel, Burrell Theatre (named after Derek Burrell, headmaster from 1959 to 1986), a covered and heated swimming pool, two gymnasiums, 40 acres (16 ha) 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 not adapted for disabled students.[citation needed]

Form and house system[edit]

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:[15]

  •   School
  •   Smith
  •   Vinter
  •   Wickett

The four houses compete for the Opie Shield over many sporting events for boys, girls and mixed teams across all year groups.


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[16]:pg 18[17]:pg 6–7– two for boys and two for girls:

  • Malvern – Senior girls, Sixth form,[16]:pg 24 ages 16–18
  • Pentreve – Junior girls, first–fifth year, ages 11–15
  • Poltisco – Junior boys, first–third year, ages 11–13
  • Trennick – Senior boys, fourth–fifth year, and Sixth form, ages 14–18

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.[16]:pg 18

Preparatory and pre-preparatory school[edit]

Truro School has its own feeder co-ed school for the age group 3–11. Originally named Treliske School, it was founded in 1936 and is situated within the grounds of Truro Golf Course, and is adjacent to Treliske Hospital. It was now called Truro Prep School.[18] 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. Entry is academically selective[19] and there were 240 pupils (135 boys, 105 girls) in the 2008–09 academic year. 2018 fees range from £2965to £4330 per term.[20] There have only been five head teachers in 83 years since the school was established in 1936: They were Tommy Stratton: 1936 – 1960, Alan Ayers: 1960 – 1989, Russell Hollins: 1989 – 2004, Matthew Lovett: 2004 – 2016 and Sarah Patterson: 2016 – present.

School uniform[edit]

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. French and German are both taught in the first, second and third year. All students are required to take a Humanities subject (History or Geography) and a foreign Language (French, German or Spanish). Physical Education (PE) becomes optional from fourth year onwards, but students can choose to take it at GCSE and A-level standard.

School publications[edit]

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[edit]

Notable alumni of Truro School include:


  1. ^ Tony Halpin Public schools plead to be let off fines over fee-fixing in The Times 1 October 2005 "The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference of leading public schools is due to hold its annual conference next week."
  2. ^ "Our Election Manifesto and The Queen's Speech both speak of 'public schools'. The only practicable definition of these (which was broadly that used by the Fleming Committee (The Public Schools and the general education system. Report of the Committee on Public School Appointed by the President of the Board of Education in July 1942. Published 1944)) is 'schools now in membership of the Headmasters Conference, Governing Bodies Association or Governing Bodies of Girls' Schools Association'"(Public Schools: Memorandum by the Sectary of State for Education and Science (PDF), 19 November 1965, p. 1)
  3. ^ Wood (2005), 9–10
  4. ^ Wood (2005), 81
  5. ^ Wood (2005), 136
  6. ^ Wood (2005), 163
  7. ^ Turner, Camilla. "Pupils at £25k-a-year private school 'went on cocaine and alcohol binge' during Tenerife field trip". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  8. ^ Mills, Richard (4 June 2019). "Bath school appoints new headmaster for 2020". Somerset Live. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Truro School website fee information". Archived from the original on 4 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Truro School website fee information".
  11. ^ Halpin, Tony (10 November 2005). "Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees". The Times. London. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
  12. ^ The Office of Fair Trading: OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement Archived 10 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Truro School fined £10,000". The Truro Packet. 2 March 2006. Retrieved 22 April 2009.[dead link]
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "Truro School Information for new boarders" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016.
  16. ^ a b c "Truro School New Pupil Handbook 2018–19" (PDF). Truro School. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Truro School Boarders' Handbook 2018–19" (PDF). Truro School. 14 June 2018. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  18. ^ Retrieved 11 November 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ "page 3" (PDF). Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  20. ^ Retrieved 11 November 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ "The 'Spirit of Truro' – When Truro School Built an Aeroplane". Truro School. 11 June 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Old Truronian is UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor". Truro School. 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  23. ^ "Truro School Speech Day 2020 (guest speaker)". Truro School. Retrieved 3 November 2020.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°15′39″N 5°02′36″W / 50.26083°N 5.04333°W / 50.26083; -5.04333