Autumn Concert 2018

What a Symphony!

This year’s autumn concert, on 13th November, was real treat for the ears, with more students than ever, performing to a packed Centenary Hall.

There was such an impressive range of music styles on offer, including some classical favourites, (this year, for the first time, from a combined Boys’ and Girls’ Grammar School Orchestra), alongside some home-grown compositions from class rock bands.

Pete Alderson’s solo marimba playing was incredible, and the preview performance from this year’s musical (Les Misérables, 5-8th March) spine-tingling. The evening culminated in an amazing performance by all the students who had performed throughout, coming together for a uplifting rendition of Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.

The concert once again showcased the inspiring talents of such wide range of students, and was testament to the hard work and commitment of the music department.


Former TBGS Student Sam Skinner Shines for Scotland

Sam Skinner, on his debut, was deeply impressive.

Exeter Chiefs lock Sam Skinner was named man of the match on his international debut. The 23-year-old made several telling ball carries and was a prominent presence in the line-out before finishing the match on the blind-side flank.

Gregor Townsend, Scotland Head Coach, said “He did very well. The game he plays for his club and the type of player he is suits what we want to do – a decision-maker, someone that is fit, with skills that can move the ball, can carry and get around the park.” [retrieved 10 November 2018]

Celebration Evening Upper School 2018

Dare to be Celebrated

On November 1st, we welcomed prize winners from year 12 and 13, with their families, to an evening of celebration.

Prizes were awarded for subject excellence in year 11 and 12, along with prizes for progress at GCSE, Aude Sapere (or excellence and contribution to the school), along with special school and memorial cup prizes.

Heads of Department specifically selected books to award to subject prize winners, to stretch their thinking in the field in which they excel. The Progress and Aude Sapere prizes were a unique glass paperweight designed and individually engraved by OurGlass, Cockington, featuring a school blue and celebration gold design; hopefully these will be a memorable and personal keepsake.

The evening began with drinks reception accompanied with jazz piano by Ashley Scott, who was awarded the music prize for year 11, followed by a spine-tingling rendition of Who Am I by Luke Gribbin, from the upcoming school musical Les Misérables, which is already shaping up to be a very exciting production. Luke was awarded C. D. Sears Musician of the Year award.

Thanks must go to the Vice-Chair of Governors, Christine Western, for awarding the prizes. She warmly congratulated all students on their successes, hard work and determination.

Mr Lawrence, speaking at the evening, shared his firm belief that student successes are a product of three parties, parents, the teachers and, of course, the students themselves. The evening was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate success with all parties.



Inspire young violinists and own a piece of TBGS musical history at the same time

A TBGS alumni would like to sell a beautiful violin made by a former TBGS teacher and has very generously offered to donate the proceeds of the sale to the Music Department, in order to inspire the next generation of TBGS violinists.

The donation would allow the department to purchase a range of good quality instruments, to be made available on loan to disadvantaged students, and to fund taster events for those interested.

Young students often give up because they aren’t able to produce a good enough sound on a cheap violin.  Enabling them to play better quality instruments would help them to persevere and develop the life-long love of the instrument that I have been fortunate enough to enjoy.

The maker, John Cottrill taught at TBGS between 1917 and 1934, and made this violin in 1924 during his time here.  He was a skilled enough luthier to be included in Henley’s Dictionary of Violin Makers.

I’ve played the violin and found it to have a good tone, despite being un-played for some time, particularly in the lower and upper registers.  As with any string instrument, this would improve with regular playing.  It would be perfect for an intermediate to advanced student, or for an amateur player looking to upgrade. It would be fantastic if it ended up in the hands of a TBGS student!

The violin has recently been refurbished, and is for sale for £3000, with the £2000 remaining after refurbishment costs coming to the school.

Below are some notes on the violin from a respected local luthier.  The image is of a different John Cottrill violin.

“The violin has a hand written label:

 Hand made on True Tone Principles by  

 J.Cottrill Torquay Zeta   1924

J Cottrill made violins between 1923 and 1936. Rather than numbering his instruments he gave each a letter of the Greek alphabet, Zeta being the sixth.   

The general quality of craftsmanship of this instrument, and the selection of tonewoods, is excellent. The back of this instrument is of two pieces of maple with fine regular flame. The ribs are of the same maple. The pegbox and scroll are of maple with a similar fine figure. The scroll is neat, 

symetrical and well proportioned. The belly of this violin is carved from fine grained spruce. The f holes are neatly carved, quite upright, with the lower wings fluted. Both plates are neatly inlaid with a single line of purfling set close to the edges. The beestings are elegant. This violin is finished with a soft warm orange­brown varnish over a golden ground, which is in very good condition with some fine craquelure.” 

If you are interested in purchasing this instrument and would like to view and play it, please contact me Chris Eastman (Head of Music):

TBGS SWAT Model UN for Primary Schools

TBGS SWAT Model UN for Primary Schools

After the successful Model UN simulation during the last academic year where the whole school debated the issue of Climate Change, we decided that the opportunity should be provided to students in our local primary schools as the Model UN simulation allows young people to gain a broader awareness of the world and to learn key life skills such as communication.

Four of our local primary schools sent a team of year 5 and 6 students to participate in the simulation and it was a fantastic experience for all involved. The simulation was led by a team TBGS students ranging from year 9 to year 13 who supported the young students every step of the way and as a result, a fascinating and challenging debate occurred!

At the end of the debate, a resolution was found to solve the issue of climate change with each country represented by the primary schools willing to work together and compromise. We look forward to running another Model UN simulation next year!


Torbay Art Show 2018

Torbay Art Show Raises £7k For School

The inaugural Torbay Art Show exceeded everyone’s expectations and raised a phenomenal amount of money towards the refurbishment of Torquay Boys’ Grammar School Sixth Form Centre. Over 1,000 people visited the event with overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Headteacher, Mr Lawrence, said of the event, ‘It was wonderful to see so many people at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School for the Torbay Art Show last weekend. Our Cavanna Centenary Hall was transformed into a fantastic exhibition space for the high-quality art on show from around 70 artists, as well as our own very talented students. The feedback on the show has been exceptionally positive and I would to thank the sponsors for their support and, in particular, the Parents’ Association for all of their hard work which enabled the show to take place.’

The Centre, a hub for the sixth form students, offers a unique area where study and socialising work alongside each other. The investment will see the Centre taking on a brighter, more spacious appearance with computer and study rooms for unsupervised learning and a new café style area where students can socialise and relax. The new Centre will lend itself to the wider Torbay Community as a venue for meetings, clubs and other activities.

This event exists due to the support of some prominent local businesses, including main sponsor Cavanna Homes, Tolchards, St. David’s Equine and Artizan Gallery. We would like to extend our thanks to all the sponsors who have embraced our idea and supported us with their generous investments. Thanks also go to the numerous companies that donated to the raffle.

For those who weren’t able to make the show, there are still works of art available from the art-hub which can be accessed at if you’re quick!

© Guy Newman. 12.10.2018. Keith Miller, MD of Cavanna Homes who sponsored the Art Show at Torquay Boys Grammar with L-R Lisa Creswell, PTA Organiser & Peter Lawrence, Head Teacher.