Kelly College

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Coordinates: 50°33′22″N 4°08′07″W / 50.5561°N 4.1354°W / 50.5561; -4.1354

Kelly College
Kelly College Landscape.jpg
Motto Fortiter Occupa Portum
("Defend your harbours bravely")
Established 1877
Type Independent school
Day and boarding school
Religion Church of England
Head Master Graham Hawley BSc. PhD.
Chairman of the Governors Rear Admiral Christopher Snow CBE DL
Founder Admiral Benedictus Marwood Kelly
Location Parkwood Road
PL19 0HZ
DfE number 878/6009
Staff c.66
Students 310 (senior school approx.)
Gender Co-educational
Ages 11–18

School (Boys) ‹See Tfm›     Marwood (Girls) ‹See Tfm›     Russell (Girls) ‹See Tfm›     Courtenay (Boys) ‹See Tfm›     Newton (Boys) ‹See Tfm›    

Conway (Mixed) 1st & 2nd years only
Colours Navy & white ‹See Tfm›     ‹See Tfm›    
Publication Kelly College Chronicle (Annual)
Former pupils Old Kelleians
Ofsted Good

Kelly College is a coeducational independent school situated in the outskirts of Tavistock, Devon, with around 350 students ranging from ages 11 to 18; there is an associated preparatory school for primary school children, Kelly College Preparatory School, nearby.

The college has eight hectares of landscaped grounds, including playing fields, set on the edge of Dartmoor and including a stretch of the River Tavy, and four separate senior boarding houses, a junior house and a day house, each with its own facilities. The college enjoys a good academic reputation, and is renowned for its strength in sports, particularly swimming and rugby.

It is at present under the headship of Dr. Graham Hawley who joined the college in August 2008, succeeding Mr. Mark Steed. The college's motto is fortiter occupa portum - "defend your harbours bravely", a quotation from Ode XIV from the first Book of Odes by Horace.(1)

It offers many extracurricular activities, such as the CCF (Combined Cadet Force) and the DofE Scheme; in addition to a wide variety of sporting activities.


The school was founded in 1877 after Admiral Benedictus Marwood Kelly left the great part of his real and personal estate to Trustees, founding a charity which he directed should be called "The Kelly College", which should be for the education of the "sons of Naval officers and other gentlemen". The school opened in October 1877, under the Headmastership of Robert West Taylor, late fellow of St John's College, Cambridge, with twelve boys on the school roll. It became co-educational in the early 1970s, initially with entrants into the Sixth Form, and in September 1991 welcomed thirty one girls into the First Form, fourteen of whom became Kelly Veterans in 1998.[1]

The governing body have not yet decided whether to follow many other independent schools and a fast-growing number of successful state schools by offering the International Baccalaureate or the Pre-U as the sixth form option.


The School has six houses; School House (Senior Boys House) (founded 1877), Courtenay House (Senior Boys House) (founded 1901), Newton House (Senior Girls House) (founded 1939), Conway House ( Junior house, 1st and 2nd form only) (founded 1975), Marwood House (Senior Girls House) (founded 1983), Russell House (Senior Day Pupils and the only mixed senior house) (founded 2002, it should be noted that Russell House was not founded with a new building, it occupies the 'southern wing' of what originally was Marwood House. Due to being exclusively a day pupils' house it doesn't require the space necessary to accommodate boarders). Conway House is a mixed house for students in years 7 and 8; the remaining houses are for students in years 9 to 13 (3rd form to Upper Sixth). The college is currently undergoing a restructuring of the present house system.

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ (1) Kelly College Chronicle 1997 - 1998
  2. ^ "Meet the Plymouth athletes competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland". Plymouth Herald. 20 July 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 

External links[edit]