Devonport High School for Boys

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Devonport High School for Boys
Motto Prorsum Semper Honeste — Forward always honest/proud
Established 1896
Type Grammar school
Headteacher Dan Roberts
Founder Alonzo Rider
Location Paradise Road
Devonport, Plymouth
50°22′27″N 4°09′44″W / 50.374071°N 4.162273°W / 50.374071; -4.162273Coordinates: 50°22′27″N 4°09′44″W / 50.374071°N 4.162273°W / 50.374071; -4.162273
DfE URN 136496 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Staff over 100
Students 1,135
Gender Boys (Mixed sixth form)
Ages 11–18
Houses      Campbell
Colours Green and white         
Former pupils Old DHSians [1]

Devonport High School for Boys is a grammar school and academy, for boys aged 11 to 18, in Plymouth, Devon, England. It has around 1,135 pupils. Its catchment area includes southwest Devon and southeast Cornwall as well as Plymouth. Pupils are accepted on the basis of academic aptitude.

School history[edit]

The school was founded by Alonzo Rider on Albert Road, Devonport, in January 1896 to meet the needs of boys in Plymouth and district seeking a career in the Navy, as engineers and civil servants.

In 1906, the Devonport Borough Council took over the school and over the next thirty years it continued to teach boys who came from the city or in by train from the Tamar Valley and Cornwall. Old Boys went on to careers both locally and nationally – and especially in the MoD. In 1941 the school was evacuated to Penzance because of World War II and in 1945 returned to the present site, the former Stoke Military Hospital on Paradise Road, which had been built in 1797.[2] A book by former student and teacher Henry Whitfield called A Torch in Flame, chronicles the history of the school from its founding to the death of headmaster Dr Cresswell in 1974. Since 1904, there has also been an annual school magazine made by pupils with the purpose of keeping students, parents and Old Boys informed about developments and information concerning the school.

Academic standards[edit]

In 2002, the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) designated the school as one of the first four specialist engineering colleges in England. In 2006, it was judged to be a High Performing Specialist School (HPSS) and rebid successfully for a second 4-year period of Engineering Specialism. In April 2007, it took up a second specialism in languages. After the OFSTED inspection in October 2007, the school successfully gained redesignation for Engineering and, with its HPSS status re-affirmed, successfully applied a third specialism "Applied Learning" which commenced during 2009. This specialism encouraged subject teaching to make reference to relevance in the world of work.

The school was inspected again in February 2011, and was designated as an "Outstanding" school, paving the way for the school's conversion to "Type Two" Academy Status in early March 2011, under the Coalition Government's Academy scheme.

The school's academic performance can be assessed on the UK government's DfES website.[3]

F1 in Schools[edit]

Pupils' technical achievements include building the fastest CO2-powered model formula one car in the South West England heats of the F1 In Schools competition 2004-2005. Cars in this competition are designed with Computer Aided Design software and built from balsa wood using Computer Aided Manufacture. DHSB's "Team Odyssey" entered the lower 11-14 age group. Their vehicle traveled 20 metres in 1.187 seconds, averaging over 60 kilometres per hour. Despite being the fastest in both age groups they did not qualify for the national finals, losing marks in the presentation section. This competition was re-entered in 2005-2006, with Black Future and Next Generation. At the regional finals in Yeovil, Black Future got a time of 1.107 seconds with Next Generation being slightly slower. Both teams went through to the national finals held in the NEC, Birmingham, where Black Future won the trophy for the fastest car nationally and Next Generation again being slightly slower, but with the second fastest car in United Kingdom. In 2011 they again entered two teams: Fusion and Pulse. Fusion had the second fastest car in the south-west, but unfortunately did not qualify for the national finals. Pulse however, entered into a more complex class and beat the world record with a time of 1.069 seconds, scooping four prizes and a cheque for £500, going on to complete in the national finals. The school also is entering in 2012 with Team Vitesse in the same class as Pulse.

F1 in Schools English Champions

At the January 2007 national finals in Birmingham, the Pulse car beat the world record twice more, setting the UK National record at 1.056 seconds. In a further test for the car they arranged to race the Honda car, which had beaten all the other cars at Indianapolis last year and since then had undergone improvements. Using non-competition canisters Pulse achieved a time of 1.020 seconds, one millisecond faster than the Honda car. Overall, Pulse won the fastest R-type car, the Innovative Thinking award, the best 14-16 presentation and the 14-16 age group. As a result of their achievements they went on to represent England at the International Finals in 2008, which were held in Malaysia during the Sepang Grand Prix.

F1 in Schools World Champions

The Pulse F1 Team succeeded in becoming World Champions in the International Finals in Malaysia in March 2008. The team beat off competition from around the world in a knockout style event winning the Bernie Ecclestone Trophy and also university sponsorship, as well as the privilege of being VIP guests at the 2008 Malaysian Grand Prix.

The school is a designated Arkwright Scholarship School. As of 2005 there have been four Arkwright Scholars.

DHSB headteachers[edit]

Looking west along the Arcade
  • 1896–1906 AJ Rider
  • 1906–1932 AF Treseder
  • 1933–1941 HAT Simmonds
  • 1942–1948 WH Buckley
  • 1949–1953 SB Barker
  • 1953–1974 JL Cresswell
  • 1975–1993 JGW Peck
  • 1993–2008 NM Pettit
  • 2008-2015 KJ Earley
  • 2015- DJJ Roberts

School houses[edit]

Until 2009 the school consisted of four houses (Drake, Raleigh, Gilbert and Grenville) split evenly between the six forms (C,E,N,P,S,W). Prior to 2009, these letters were used as identifiers for the various forms in each year and were associated with compass points. These letters, and forms, then formed the basis of the new house names when, in 2009, the school's pupils were split equally between 6 houses, which continue to compete each year for the St. Levan's Shield. The houses are Campbell, Edison, Newton, Priestley, Smeaton and Winstanley.

School buildings[edit]

The school buildings are named after notable people with links to Plymouth:

Uzel House[edit]

The school had a residential centre in the French town of Uzel in Brittany. This offered pupils the opportunity for work experience with local companies as well as the chance to improve their French and enjoy activities like horseriding and canoeing. The house was bought for the token amount of 1 Franc in 1991, from the Mayor of Uzel. From opening in 1992, until its closure in 2009 over 250 boys visited the house each year. The Friday Choir also took pupils from two other Plymouth grammar schools, Plymouth High School for Girls and Devonport High School for Girls, to Uzel for an opportunity to sing to the locals. These, and many other Friday Choir tours, were organised by music teacher Trefor K Farrow. Mr Farrow joined DHSB in 1965 and completed his fortieth and final year in 2006. In 2010 there were concerns about the House's long term sustainability as a result of the recession. Ownership of the house was lost during the tenure of Kieran Earley.

Annual trips[edit]

The school organises annual trips ranging from Snowdonia, Wales to Uzel, France and beyond. The school offers a large range of educational trips abroad some regular and also usually a selection of other non-regular trips each year including:

Recent developments[edit]

Devonport High School for Boys has been rapidly expanding over the past few years. This expansion has included the refurbishment of the 6th Form centre as well as the complete refurbishment of the old Edgcumbe Hall to create the Edgcumbe Theatre and Studio, a theatre facility both for performance and sound and light engineering.

A new cookery and home economics building was built in 2009/10 to bring the school in line with new government legislation making food technology compulsory for all students up to Key Stage 3.

September 2011 saw the commencement of a large scale redecoration programme which began with a number of classrooms and has continued to include the entire interior of B and C Blocks.

In 2013 construction on the long-awaited[4] AstroTurf began. This was completed in September 2013 and an official opening was held on 18 September 2013, with The Lord Mayor of Plymouth "cutting the tape".

The completion of the AstroTurf saw the progression of plans for full site enclosure.

The former Learning Resource Centre underwent a large scale refurbishment in mid 2015 which saw the upper mezzanine expanded into an entirely separate floor. The new location was entitled the 'Learning Commons' and is currently managed by the Director of the Learning Commons. The space was officially opened[5] on the 12th December 2015 by the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Cllr Dr John Mahony.[6]

As of 2018, the school has plans to increase Year 7 admission numbers from 180 to 210 in 2020 by adding one form into the new year.[7]

Notable former pupils[edit]

Notable alumni include:

DHSB has a group of alumni called the "Old Boys Association", it was relaunched in 1996, on the school's centenary. There are more than 600 Old Boys registered on the DHS Old Boys Online web site. DHS Old Boys Online has no direct affiliation with the Old Boys Association, although it does provide some information on the Association and a form to apply for membership..

There was mild controversy in the school and the DHSOBA when the information that an Old Boy from the school had been detained in the now infamous "fake rock" case emerged. According to the BBC, Russia's intelligence agency, the FSB, accused British agents of storing and exchanging classified information using a fake rock on a Russian street.[18]


  1. ^ "DHSOB Inaugural dinner | dhsob". 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  2. ^ "Devonport High School for Boys". National Heritage List for England. Historic England. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "Devonport High School for Boys". Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2006. 
  4. ^ Margetts, Steve. "Suggestions and Comments; Mr Margetts' Responses". Frog VLE Design. Retrieved 7 June 2013. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "DHSBoys on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2015-12-29. 
  6. ^ "Plymouth City Council - Lord Mayor". Archived from the original on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  7. ^ Proposal to expand Devonport High School for Boys.
  8. ^ 'BRIDGES, Stephen John', Who's Who 2011, A & C Black, 2011; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2010 (accessed 24 September 2011).
  9. ^ 'DAVIES, Roger Oliver', Who's Who 2011, A & C Black, 2011; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2010 (accessed 24 September 2011).
  10. ^ 'DYSON, John Alva', Who's Who 2011, A & C Black, 2011; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2010 (accessed 24 September 2011).
  11. ^ 'EDDY, Prof. Alfred Alan', Who's Who 2011, A & C Black, 2011; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2010 (accessed 24 September 2011).
  12. ^ 'FELWICK, Wing Comdr David Leonard', Who's Who 2011, A & C Black, 2011; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2010 (accessed 24 September 2011).
  13. ^ 'FOSTER, Richard Scot', Who's Who 2011, A & C Black, 2011; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2010 (accessed 24 September 2011).
  14. ^ 'HAMLEY, Donald Alfred', Who's Who 2011, A & C Black, 2011; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2010 (accessed 24 September 2011).
  15. ^ 'HARRIS, Prof. Sir Martin (Best)', Who's Who 2011, A & C Black, 2011; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2010 (accessed 24 September 2011).
  16. ^ 'HISCOCK Stephen John', Who's Who 2011, A & C Black, 2011; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2010 (accessed 24 September 2011).
  17. ^ Retrieved 7 January 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  18. ^ "Technology | Q&A: 'British spy rock'". BBC News. 2006-01-23. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 

External links[edit]