Latest News from Shebbear College

A word from the Head

Today in Chapel we celebrated the outstanding achievements of our senior pupils and their LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) results, many of whom attained distinctions. We also celebrated our pupils who achieved ABRSM Music certificates and also the Mathematics Trust Challenge result. It was great to see two pupils (Alice in Form 2 and Ben in Form 5) perform their LAMDA pieces in Chapel so brilliantly today. We are looking forward to another fantastic week of excellent drive and team work on the hockey pitch and rugby field.

Mrs Caroline Kirby

A word from the Head of Prep School

After what was quite literally the dizzy heights of the PGL residential this week, our Year 6 children are now back in the full swing of lessons, having had an excellent three days away. The aims of this PGL adventure trip include bonding closely as a group for the year ahead, taking on more individual and collective responsibility, stepping outside of comfort zones and facing new challenges. Our visit to Dorset certainly achieved these aims – and more. Activities included rifle shooting, giant swing, climbing, street surfing, kayaking, ambush, the ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ and aeroball.

There were also evening activities, as well as the ever-popular early morning runs before breakfast. The children were superb ambassadors for Shebbear and seem to have gained a tremendous amount from their time away, whether it was facing up to fears, bonding as a group, or gaining in confidence. It was a real pleasure for myself and Miss Summers-Lee to take them away.

Mr Matthew Foale

U9 Rugby and Netball v St Petroc’s

See more photographs.

U12/13 Rugby Tournament

Our fantastic U12/13 Rugby Tournament took place in glorious sunshine on Thursday 19th September and saw lots of superb action by teams from Shebbear and our guest schools St Joseph’s, Kingsley and Stover.

See all the photographs.

Years 1 and 2 trip to Cookworthy Forest

The children in Years 1 and 2 had an adventure on this week when they visited Cookworthy Forest. They collected natural objects to make a mobile next week in class.

Weekend coasteering activity for our boarders

Our boarding pupils enjoy a host of amazing and exciting activities at weekends. Coasteering is just one example which takes place every term.

See all the photographs.

Pre-School busy learning as they play

Our Pre-School children made the most of the wonderful weather this week playing on the outdoor Lighthouse Play Area. They also had a lovely time making bread and preparing fruit for blackberry and apple jam.

A thought from the Chaplain

Click here and take a few moments to consider and reflect upon the latest thoughts from our Chaplain, Revd Mark Nightingale.


The Chemistry Department was delighted to welcome back one of our Alumni to the College last week. Will Balkwill-Western offered to drop in just before the start of the second year of his Masters degree in Chemistry at Cardiff University. Will spoke with the Sixth Form Chemistry students about his experience studying A Level Chemistry at Shebbear, and reflected on how his efforts here had prepared him for his first year studying the subject at undergraduate level.

Will assisted in two practical investigations and was able to share his knowledge and understanding of the structure and bonding of substances with the Lower Sixth at the start of their course. Will also assisted the Upper Sixth with their investigation into the reactions of ligands within the complex ions of d-block transition metals, and helped our students to see their current studies as forming part of a longer sequence of exploration within the Sciences.

We all wish Will the very best of luck with his career in Chemistry and hope he will pop back next year and keep us posted as to how he is getting on.

Welcome to our new Hockey coaches

We are delighted to welcome our new hockey coaching team of Mr Andy Egford and Miss Joanna Spooner. Andy joins us on a permanent basis as PE teacher and Head of Hockey and Cricket. His coaching was enjoyed by all pupils last year and saw some notable performances by all teams against much bigger schools, not least our U12 girls’ team who were unbeaten in Devon and Cornwall last season.

Joanna is a Bath University graduate who specialises in hockey and is a qualified GB hockey umpire. This is an exciting opportunity for hockey at Shebbear College, which continues to go from strength to strength. All Shebbear College hockey teams will be in action on Saturday 21st September as they play their first fixtures of the season against Mount Kelly.

Year 3 and 4 Geography trip to Meeth Quarry

Our pupils set out to see how the landscape had been affected by clay quarrying in the past and what had happened since the quarry had stopped being used.

They enjoyed a long walk through woods and over tracks and made the most of every opportunity to test out the waterproof capabilities of their wellies by making sure they walked through every puddle available.

They were lucky enough to see two slow worms, a frog, butterflies and dragonflies. The weather was wonderful and the views over the disused quarries were spectacular. They will now use all the information gathered to inform their Geography lessons and make the links to local industry, both historical and current.

Join us for our Macmillan Coffee Morning

Calling all bakers and fakers!

House Baking Competition
During our Macmillan Coffee Morning, Catering Manager Mr. Gould will judge three competitions:
1. The most cakes, snacks, savouries and pastries baked by a House
2. The best House cake
3. The best House savoury
The judging starts at 10.55am and the results will be announced at 11.00am. The winners will be awarded house points. Following the competition we invite visitors, pupils and staff to join the fun and enjoy the cakes and refreshments in aid of Macmillan Cancer Care.

So get baking! Pupils are asked to hand their cakes in during registration on Wednesday 25th September.

Welcome back to an Old Shebbearian

On Monday 16th September we were delighted to welcome back Geoffrey Colwill to Shebbear College, along with his daughter Nina and son Aron. Born and raised in Launceston, Geoffrey boarded at Shebbear from 1962 – 1969. This was the first time he had been back to his old school since leaving.

Geoffrey and his family have lived in Australia for many years and were visiting the UK for family reunions. He was very proud to tell us that he was Pollard House Music Captain from 1967 – 1969 during which time they were the House Music Competition Winners three years running.

Jack Morris was Headmaster when Geoffrey started and later George Kingsnorth took over. Pollard Housemaster at that time was John Queen and Geoffrey has fond memories of maths and music teachers Michael Richardson, Hector Parr and Bruce Welford. During his tour of the school Geoffrey was impressed to see the recent investment at Shebbear, especially the Sixth Form Centre and Music Department.

14th September 2019:

A word from the Head

At the end of our first full week of the 2019 – 2020 academic year, we have achieved so much as a community already. The news feeds here are just a taste of what has been going on in the lives of our pupils this week. It has been a pleasure to see our pupils in action both on the campus and at adventure days offsite.

I thank the whole community for the warm invite at the ‘Welcome Service’ on Friday 13th September at Lake Chapel and I am incredibly proud to now formally serve and lead our outstanding community and our College moving forward.

Mrs Caroline Kirby

Service of Welcome

For the Head of Shebbear College, Mrs Caroline Kirby.

The Senior School Leadership Team

From left to right: Assistant Head (Pastoral) – Mrs Lovett, Deputy Head – Mr Newitt, Head – Mrs Kirby, Assistant Head (CoCurricular) – Mrs Cardoo, Assistant Head (Academic) – Mrs Parker.

Head Boy and Head Girl 2019 – 2020

Robin Dalton and Jessica Biggs with the Head, Mrs Kirby.

Meet the Sanctuary (UVI Prefect) Team for 2019 – 2020

From left to right: Toby Biggs, Amy Taylor, Timon Chapman, Cat Thomson, Will Cunningham, Elizabeth Flaherty, Robin Dalton (Head Boy), Jessica Biggs (Head Girl), Nathan Coates, Olivia Rolls, Jack Austin, Lauren Wivell, Eddie Hill and Jack Joslin with the Head, Mrs Kirby (middle).

News from the Prep School

This first full week of term has been a very busy one in the Prep. Our activities programme is well underway and our first trip took place on Thursday, with Years 3 and 4 visiting Meeth Quarry, as part of their History and Geography curriculum.

Our assembly topics included facing your fears and the importance of the word ‘yet’. We spoke about the group of celebrities who are conquering their fears of the water to swim the Channel in aid of Stand Up To Cancer, and how we can all rise to any challenges we are faced with.

Building resilience and a positive mindset was the focus of Mr Willetts’ assembly, looking at maybe not being able to do something ‘yet’, but keeping determined and working towards achieving goals and targets.

I hope many of you found yesterday’s information evening useful and I would reiterate that if you have any queries during the course of the term, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

I hope you have a good weekend and the best of luck to our Year 6 pupils, as they leave for their PGL residential in Dorset on Monday morning.

Matthew Foale

Prep Bake Sale in aid of Edukid

Our G2L Charity group, organised and led by Mrs Willis-Butcher, organised a Bake Sale in the Prep School on Tuesday, to raise further funds for Edukid and supporting children with their education in Uganda. A total of £116 was raised and this money will go towards the education of Lucky Peace and Isaac at Goch Koma Primary School in Uganda. This is a sponsorship programme through the local charity, Edukid, which we are proud to support. Our thanks to everyone for donating cakes and to Mrs Willis-Butcher and the G2L children for organising the event.

A thought from the Chaplain

In Chapel at the start of this new term we are looking again at what makes Shebbear such a great school and we have started by looking at our school song.

It comes from a poem written in 23 BC by the poet Horace. He addresses it to his friend Aristius Fuscus and talks of attempting to live an honest and upright life whilst choosing to love those around us through the ups and downs of life.

Some will say it is easy to live well when times are good, but when faced with adversity can we still be upright, even loving others by putting them before ourselves?

Horace describes this in the first and last verse of his ode which make up the two verses of our song …

The person, whole and upright in life, unstained from crime,
Does not need a spear, or bow
The full quiver, or the poisoned arrow, Fuscus
Put me beneath the burning sun, in a land denied to us the human race
Even then, (through all that death and hardship) I will love my Lalage (his wife) who sweetly laughs and sweetly speaks.

These verses implore us to live well, being full of honesty, respect and upright in nature, encouraging us to learn the skill, in both good and bad times to laugh and love whatever the weather. This theme is echoed throughout the history of our school and indeed Methodism and it is something I, the Head and all the staff look forward to seeing in all of our pupils throughout this academic year.

Revd Mark Nightingale, Chaplain

Working together in Years 1 and 2

The children have been designing posters which help them to learn about friendships and how to work together. They have also been busy learning about estimating, using numbers all the way up to one hundred.

Superb exchange opportunities for Shebbear students

The summer of 2019 saw five Shebbear students travel to the southern hemisphere on an Upper School student exchange. Angus and Cameron spent two months at Canberra Grammar School, Australia, Joe and Timon at Marist, also in Canberra and Amy at Kingswood College in South Africa. All Shebbear students represented themselves and the college exceptionally well and had a great time. We are looking forward to welcoming students from the three schools into our community for the Michaelmas term.

Table manners

Mrs. Johnstone’s classroom was turned into a pop-up cafe when the Year 3 and 4 children had an ‘introduction to table manners’ lesson during their life skills session. Knife and fork mastery and napkin etiquette were discussed and all the children were able to eat their slice of cake with grace and dexterity by the end of the lesson. We are all looking forward to seeing the results of their hard work in the dining hall at lunch time and perhaps even at home!

Shebbear College Pre-School

Shebbear College Pre-School

Prep pupils in superb dance production

Well done to Prep School pupils Emilia (pictured), Pheobe and Lucy, who participated in a fantastic production over the summer as part of the Ellodie Stott School for Dance.

The dance school was set up to make dance accessible to everyone, running classes in locations across West Devon for ages 3 years to adult.

Form 1 at Adventure International

Form 1 attended Adventure International in Bude for a series of teambuilding and adventure activities. The pupils performed astonishingly well, challenging themselves personally by overcoming fears and developing team spirit. These great lessons were learnt and recognised by both the pupils and staff members. Mr Nightingale, Mr Hyam and Mrs Vassilaki commended the character, endeavour, respect and resilience of the pupils in being able to tackle the difficult tasks of caving and a complex high ropes course.

Shebbear College Pre-School

The world of Pre-School

There are lots of smiles and laughter in our Pre-School as the children have settled in quickly and made new friends while they learn. Using their huge soft play world map the children have been learning all about different countries and modes of transport.

And there is also so much you can learn through role play with telephones …

Summer joins the Vodafone Discover Business Graduate Programme

We were delighted this week to hear from Summer Dunscombe who left Shebbear College Sixth Form in 2016. Summer tells us about her progress so far …

“After graduating in June 2019 with an upper second class honours from Oxford Brookes, I was very happy to join Vodafone Group on their Discover Business Graduate Programme.

It is a two year scheme which includes two, six month, rotations and a year placement in various streams of the company, with the hope to continue on after these two years. For my first placement I will be in the VCI (Vodafone Consultancy Innovation) team for VGE (Vodafone Global Enterprises) which helps explore new and innovative ways to involve technology into everyday actions and processes.

The responsibility and the opportunity to grow is something that I love about Vodafone and there are many extra activities to be involved in, including Vodafone Foundation which is an excellent chance to get involved with charity work and helping others.

I hope to be able to progress on to their marketing and IoT teams later in the graduate scheme whilst making personal progression and goals.”

Well done to Summer, we look forward to hearing more.

Prep School Golden Sticker Winners

Our first golden sticker winners of the term were Emilia, Tyler, Lincoln, Freddie and Sam, with our BAFTA (Behaviour Award for Thoughtful Actions) and Manners Medal awarded to Freddie and Tom respectively. Many congratulations to them all.

Rugby season starts

Nice to see all ages out rugby training, on this occasion Form 3 in the sunshine on Dartmoor Field.

Welcome to our new Head,
Caroline Kirby


This week we are delighted to welcome to Shebbear College our new Head, Caroline Kirby, along with her husband Robert and children George, Benjamin and Lara.

Mrs Kirby joins us from Switzerland where she was Deputy Head of Le Régent College to become the first female Head in Shebbear’s history, dating back 190 years to the founding of Prospect College in 1829, and later Shebbear College in 1841. A graduate of Bristol University, Mrs Kirby has over a decade of senior school leadership experience, coupled with extensive teaching and pastoral care experience.

We wish Mrs Kirby every success as she leads Shebbear College into a new and exciting era.

Welcome to our new Form 1 pupils

On Tuesday 3rd September we were delighted to welcome our new Form 1 to Shebbear College Senior School for their induction day. Many of the group were familiar with the school having previously attended our Prep School, while others have joined us from local primary schools. They had a good day making new friends and they all looked very smart in their new uniforms.

News from the Prep School

After a very well deserved summer break, it has been good to see everyone back in school looking so refreshed, smart, enthusiastic and ready to start the new school year. I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing all about the children’s trips over the summer and their many adventures. I would particularly like to welcome all of our new families starting this term and my thanks to all of their new classmates for helping them to find their feet so quickly.

I am delighted to say that all of the children have made an excellent start to lessons, settling into their new classes and routines so smoothly. Plenty of new friendships have been made already, and I know that our staff have been very pleased with the children’s commitment to their work in this first week. I hope you have a good weekend and we look forward to welcoming many of you to our Information Evening next Thursday.
Matthew Foale

Chapel service for new pupils

During a Chapel service this week our new Head, Caroline Kirby, welcomed new pupils to the school followed by inspiring words from our Head Boy and Head Girl, Deputy Head and Assistant Head. The Sanctuary team were introduced and the Chaplain encouraged everyone to have a ‘glass half full’ attitude.

Sixth Form Leavers’ Success with Ealing Trailfinders

We were delighted to hear some great rugby news this week about two of our Sixth Form leavers from this summer. Will Cowan-Dickie has joined the Ealing Trailfinders Academy and Sione Funaki started a try that was scored by Will and has been featured on the Ealing Twitter feed. Well done to both boys, we look forward to hearing more in future.

180ft Hartland Abseil for our School Nurse

Having previously completed the London Marathon to raise funds for North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple, our School Nurse Caroline Reed is taking part in the Berry Beast Abseil on the 14th September raising funds for their cancer and well-being centre.

You can support Caroline at

August 2019:

Official 2019 Holsworthy and Stratton Show Media Team

Well done to BTEC Creative Media student Katie, along with former pupil Rosie, who were the official Media Team for the 2019 Holsworthy and Stratton Agricultural Show this week. The girls spent the day photographing, filming and posting events, activities and attractions on the show’s social media channels to increase awareness and create a ‘buzz’ around the event.

June 2019:

Shanghai exchange group visit Westward Ho!

Our Shanghai exchange group had a damp but wonderful time at the beach. They enjoyed playing in the water, building sandcastles and stone towers. A quick stop for Hockings ice creams was followed by a visit to The Carousel Amusements. Everyone left with prizes and smiles on their faces. Finally, they stopped at Mr Chips for a delicious fish supper before returning to the boarding houses to warm up. A big thank you to the staff at Hockings, The Carousel and Mr Chips who were all extremely welcoming and helpful!

International pupils visit Morwellham Quay

Our international pupils and summer school visitors enjoyed a glorious day out at Morwellham Quay where they learned all about school life, fashion, food and work in Victorian England. After attending the Victorian school they had the opportunity to dress up in authentic Victorian clothes, according to their class and financial status. After a group photograph they got changed and headed down the valley to a small train which took them along the Tamar, into the copper mine and out the other side. They learned about the tough working conditions and poor pay for the miners of the time.

Proud sponsors of Saunton D-Day Commemoration

Shebbear College are proud to have been sponsors of the 2019 D-Day Commemoration at Saunton Sands in Devon. The weekend included re-enactments and provided a fascinating look back at the vehicles, uniforms, equipment, food and music of World War II. Highlights were seeing a group of original planes flying in and landing on the beach and an amazing drive-by convoy of WWII vehicles. In the film, look out for our pupils Harriet and William on cadet duty on the day.

Summer School Eden Project Visit

Our international summer school group enjoyed a day out at The Eden Project on Monday. They followed an exciting and education trail through the tropical rain forest and meditteranean biomes, answering questions as they went along and exploring the vast array of exhibits and activities on show.

May 2019:

Open Day, Spring Fayre and Dog Show

On a glorious Bank Holiday at the beginning of May we held our annual Open Day, Spring Fayre and Dog Show. Visitors were treated to many attractions, activities and games throughout the day as well as wonderful musical performances.