School History

The original school was called Torrington Council School. We can't currently identify when this school opened its doors, however we have found roll numbers for February 1905. At this point the total roll was 127 students. The first named admission we found was Martin Alfred, born on 14th September 1892 and joined on 7th October 1906. Alfred lived in New Street and had an occupation listed as a Spinner! Most students worked as well as studied, occupations listed including Grocer, Farmer, Winder, Errand Boy and Butcher.

At this time most students left school at 14, but students could start at 7. The average year group was around 18 students; however there were only six students aged 7 and just two aged over 14. Torrington Council School closed its doors on 4th August 1939 with a roll of 113 students and was believed to be at the old Eric Palmer centre.

Our current school opened its doors to students on 13th September 1939. Our first admission was James Harper and had previously studied at the old Council School. He was born on 10th September 1925 and lived in Castle Street; however he left the school on 7th December 1939 due to being 'over age' at 14.

At the end of the first week the total roll was 296 students, a big jump from the old school role of just 113 though the school was designed to cater for up to 440 students. Compare this to the 902 students on roll in 2008/09 and you can see just how much the school has grown! Mr T Nancekievill was the first Head Master and had just nine assistant teachers to teach the students. There were just seven classrooms, two craftrooms, art room, housecraft room, science room and handicraft room to teach in. For a plan of the original school click here.

We have recently found some evacuee registers for WW2, the school averaged about 40 evacuee students a year during this period and they stayed with local families whilst working and studying here in Torrington.

These pictures are from the 1950s and give an insight into school life back then.

Interesting fact - the school cost £25,582 to build! You wouldn't get a very large extension built for that much these days would you?

If you have any information which may help us develop this section of the website please email the school marked for the attention of the ICT Network Manager.

Great Torrington Community School and Sports College celebrated its 70th Anniversary on 22nd July 2010 where pupils attended school dressed in clothes of the 1940 period, short trousers for the boys and frocks (dresses) for the girls. Some pupils chose to look like evacuees by wearing a label around their neck with their name on it. To be really authentic they carried a small suitcase. Staff wore academic gowns, military uniform, land army or anything else that depicts WWII. Lessons that day will focused on this period as did the catering and music.

Outside Students Javelin Textiles Football Train to School