Westlands School

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Westlands School
Motto working together to succeed
Established 1973
Headteacher Mrs L Kane
Vice-Chairman Steve Radford
Location Westlands Lane
England Coordinates: 50°28′32″N 3°31′25″W / 50.47551°N 3.52349°W / 50.47551; -3.52349
Local authority Torbay
DfE URN 113526 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1426
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses Raleigh, Brunel, Peters and Christie
Colours Red, Blue, Green and Yellow
Website www.westlandstc.com

Westlands School is a secondary school in the Devon town of Torquay, England. Established in 1973, the school has since become a co-educational bilateral school, for children aged between 11 and 18. The school is located in the Plainmoor district of Torquay, with most students living in the catchment area of Plainmoor, St Marychurch, Babbacombe and Ellacombe areas of the town. However some students do live further away from the school catchment area, yet still attend the school due to a selective grammar stream and special support for deaf children.


The school was established in 1973 and was named after the joining of Westhill Secondary and Homelands Technical High School, the latter an all-boys school at the time. It was split over two separate sites about half a mile from each other. One site, named Lower School, was used for students ages 11–13 in years 7 and 8, while the other site, named Upper School was for students in year 9 and higher.

During the Second World War, the lower school buildings were originally built to be an army hospital (Torquay being a major town for war hospitals). Each classroom featured 'walls' consisting of multiple double doors where beds would have been brought in and out.

Throughout the 1970s the school became increasingly run down with little or no investment in buildings. In 1978 a major fire, which broke out in the upper school's chemistry department storeroom, exacerbated the situation by seriously damaging many classrooms. During this period, much of the upper school was housed in temporary Portakabin structures as a substitute for real classrooms. This lack of investment in the school occurred simultaneously with the local Education Department's decision to fund a major relocation and redevelopment of Torquay Grammar School to the Shiphay site. Both Westland's sites relied heavily on outside cabins to provide extra teaching facilities which, by the late 1990s, were old and starting to become increasingly damaged.

The school became a Technology College in 2001, specialising in ICT and technology subjects, and receiving additional government funding.

Westlands School applied for Academy status in 2013, however this was refused by the inspecting body OFSTED after the school failed its 2013 inspection and was placed under special measures.

Rebuilding the School[edit]

School Design prior to construction

In the late 1990s the decision was made to rebuild the school onto one site, namely the Upper School site. In 1999 work started under a private finance scheme, with Torbay Council owning the land, and Jarvis plc building, and then owning the building itself.

The plan was to rebuild the entire school on the Upper School site, along with Homelands Primary School which was next to it, was a much larger site. In the summer of 1999 Homelands Primary relocated to part of the Lower School of Westlands to allow building work to commence. The old Homelands School buildings were demolished, and building of the new school began. The new school was built in sections, allowing students to start occupying part of the new building, while other areas of the site were demolished and rebuilt while the school remained open.

In Autumn 2001 the building was completed, and students from the Lower School joined the rest of the students to form the school onto one site. Homelands school, which up until now still were using part of the Lower Site, then had a new school rebuilt at the Lower School Site which was completed in Summer 2002.

Jarvis who built, and now own and run, the building, supply all maintenance rather than the council itself. PPP have taken over ownership of the school from Jarvis.

The new school architecture[edit]

Front of the new school building

The new school building is unusual, in that it is built on a long plot of land surrounded by buildings. The offices and administration are at one end, with classrooms at the other. The school is built with 'pods', shaped like triangles, which each hold a subject department. The science and art departments both remain in older sections of the school which were not rebuilt but joined onto the new building.

Since the rebuild however some design flaws have been discovered. For a modern building the school has a lack of parking facilities for staff, visitors and students. Nearby roads and a private car park for a local swimming pool often get busy and full through the school day.

The school also had a limited sized dining area which did not have the capacity to hold enough students at lunch times and so, for a period of time, years were split into having lunch breaks at different times in a very confusing system. In 2004 an extension was built and, since then, there has been one lunchtime again. Also, due to the design of the building being long, each of the 'pods' link into one main hallway on each floor which can become very crowded at busy periods.

House System[edit]

Upon joining the school, a student is assigned to one of the school's four houses. The houses compete in both academic and sporting events throughout the academic year. The houses in the former Westhill School were originally named after local beaches namely Redgate, Livermead, Meadfoot and Oddicombe. At Homelands they were named after the patron saints, St Andrew's (blue), St George's (red), St David's (yellow) and St Patrick's (green). They are now named after local famous people: Raleigh house (red), after Sir Walter Raleigh; Brunel house (blue), after Isambard Kingdom Brunel; Peters house (green), after James Peters[disambiguation needed]; and Christie house (yellow), after Agatha Christie.


The school has a gymnasium on site but, due to the school being built in a built-up area of Torquay, there are no nearby sports fields. However, the school does own a large sports field, named Quinta, about half a mile away for outside sport lessons. The school provides coach transport every day to and from the sports fields.

It has been proposed that a new stadium development at nearby Plainmoor Football ground could see the facilities being used by pupils at Westlands School.[1]


  1. ^ "Plan for Plainmoor stadium development wins council approval". 8 October 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 

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