Matravers School


Our History

Matravers School has always been built on strong and stable traditions throughout its existence. Surprisingly, there have only been 4 permanent Headmasters since England last won the football World Cup, which is quite a feat in this day and age.

  • Mr Kenneth Evans, Headmaster 1966 - 1986

  • Mr Nigel Gilhespy, Headmaster 1986 - 2005

  • Mr Chris Dark, Headmaster 2005 - 2012

  • Interim Headteacher period 2012 -2013

  • Dr Simon Riding, Headmaster 2013 - present

From humble beginnings…

Westbury, Laverton Institute School

From a bequest of £1,000, made for educational purposes by John Matravers in his will of 1814, £500 was to provide a school for boys and girls.  The first school-room was in the Bratton Road in the building later called the Old Athenaeum. 

Source, British History Online

The 1800's

The Boys' School, Laverton Institute School

In 1819 24 boys attended the school, which was run on the Lancasterian system. No girls' school was provided, but later the British Girls' School benefited from the bequest. For some time after 1832 the rent of the school-room was paid by William Matravers. 

In 1833 about 50 boys were taught, besides the more usual subjects, enough geometry to qualify them for mechanical pursuits. Fees were 1d. a week. 

By 1856 the school was associated with the British Society. 

In 1874 the school moved to the room provided for it in the newly-built Laverton Institute. 

In 1885 a proposal to share the income from the Matravers bequest among the other Westbury Schools met with local opposition, but henceforth the girls' school connected with the British Society received £10 a year. Boys were not to be required to attend any particular Sunday school or church, but religious instruction was given at the beginning and end of every school session. 

In 1899 another room in the Institute was used, and there was said to be accommodation for 180 boys. 

The Girls' School, Westbury County Secondary Modern School, Leigh Road

In 1844 a single school-room was built In 1844 a single school-room was built in Lower (now Leigh) Road as a girls' school. 

In 1859 the school, by then associated with the British Society, had about 70 pupils. 

Between 1893 and 1910 average attendance was about 60. 

Source, British History Online

The 1900's

The Boys' School, Laverton Institute School

This room was declared unsuitable in 1909, and in 1910 accommodation was reassessed at 86. 

In 1907 the school was transferred to the Local Education Authority and its name changed from Westbury British Boys School to Westbury Laverton Institute School.  

In 1925 the school closed and the boys joined the Senior School in Lower (now Leigh) Road, later called the Westbury County Secondary Modern School.

The Girls' School, Westbury County Secondary Modern School, Leigh Road

In 1925 two new classrooms were added, the boys brought from the Laverton Institute School, and the senior children from the Church of England School, and the school became the Westbury Senior Council School with 103 pupils. 

Senior pupils from Westbury Leigh were admitted in 1929.  

In 1930 the school was enlarged to accommodate children over 11 from Heywood, Chapmanslade, Corsley, Dilton Marsh, Erlestoke, Bratton, and Edington.

Between 1931 and 1950 new classrooms for teaching practical subjects, and a kitchen and dining hall were added.

Since 1945 the school has been known as the Westbury County Secondary Modern School and has accommodation for 348 children.

Between 1950 and 1960 numbers increased to 475 and much extra temporary accommodation was needed.

In 1960 a major building programme was proposed to bring the buildings up to Ministry of Education standards. Since c. 1953 the school has developed the teaching of rural subjects and provides special courses in these for children from Warminster, Trowbridge, and Bradford-on-Avon, as well as from the Westbury area. Extended courses for pupils up to 16 or 17 years were established in 1960. 

Source, British History Online

The 2000's

Matravers became a Foundation School, rooted firmly in its own community. In 2000 Matravers opened its own Sixth Form to provide a full 11 - 18 educational experience for its pupils. The school continued to grow in size and scope. Significant funding followed to meet the school's growing aspirations. A brand new Sixth Form Centre was opened in 2013, followed by a STEM centre in 2019.