Education records for schools in the City of Plymouth and parts of West Devon and South Hams districts are held in Plymouth and West Devon Record Office.

Availability of records

Photograph showing a leather bound book with a lock and log book imprinted on the front.Under the Data Protection Act, there are restrictions on access (in some cases 100 years) to admission registers, log books, punishment books and pupil and staff files and some other records that may contain personal information. Please check on the online catalogue or contact us for details (note the restriction is from last date given for a record, ie the date a child left school, not the date of admission).

Anyone wishing to see their own records or who needs confirmation of their exam results should contact us for further information.

School Records

Handwritten log describing low attendance at school due to children picking blackberries and mushrooms, the subjects being taught, and children being invited to Saltram as a treat.The record office has a wide variety of documents relating to many different subjects of historic interest.

One of the most popular of these is schools in the Plymouth and South West Devon area. Most of the surviving records are for the late 19th century onwards, although it is worth noting that there have been schools in Plymouth since the 16th century. Two schools where there are surviving early records are: the Grey Coat School which has minute books from 1735 (with names of children admitted) and school accounts from 1714. The pupil admission registers/relief books date from 1813; the Hele’s Charity School (or Hospital of the Poor’s Portion) account books contain names of boys from the latter half of the 17th century. There are also some early minor references to the Corporation Grammar School (in existence from the early 16th century) in the Plymouth Borough records.

Within the collections for the parishes and other denominations, are records relating to church run schools in the area, including Sunday Schools.

Below are some examples of types of records that can be used to research various aspects of this subject, and the catalogues (or lists) to most of these can be accessed on the Access to Archives website or our Online Catalogue.


Plan of a school building which shows layouts of classrooms and a coat room.

  • Ordnance Survey maps (c1857 to 1960’s)
  • Plymouth City Council building control plans, 1851 to c1960’s
  • School Board reports (1871 to 1901)
  • City Engineer’s photographs (post-war schools)
  • Plymouth Education Committee minutes (1903 onwards) and entries in minutes books for other local councils
  • Plymouth Education Department correspondence files (mainly 20th century)
  • Trade/street directories, school log books, photographs, school prospectuses, HM Inspector’s reports


School admission log with handwritten names and dates.

  • School admission registers, log books, pupil/leaver’s files (mid to late 20th century)
  • School photographs, school magazines etc


A selection of books with one opened, showing handwritten entries.

  • School log books
  • School Board reports/Education Committee minutes
  • Teacher’s registers/files, trade/street directories (particularly for private teachers)
  • School photographs, evacuation allowances (World War II)


  • School log books, school Governor’s minutes (late 20th century only)
  • School Board reports/Education Committee, HM Inspectors reports

In addition, there are many files relating to schools and all aspects of education in the Education Department collections from the local authority. There is also material to be found within collections held at the Devon Record Office in Exeter (when Education in Plymouth was under Devon County Council control) and those created centrally by the Board of Education held at the National Archives in Kew, London.

School records index

The following index lists the surviving log books, and admission registers deposited at the record office (at the time of compilation of the list – please consult the online catalogue for any additional material). Leaver’s files, pupil files and punishment books are also held but are not part of this index. Some historic school records are still retained by the school. The index is arranged alphabetically by school name. To see a full listing of what we hold please use our Online Catalogue and carry out a search using the name of the school as your search term.

Is the school you want missing from this list? We may hold other records for the school which can be searched for using our online catalogue. We can also advise you of our holdings by emailing us. Sometimes a school may choose to retain their records and in these cases we recommend that you contact the school direct. Please see the Council’s Schools page for more information.