Royal Dockyard School
Royal Dockyard School
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Preceded by None
Country United Kingdom
Founded 1843
Abolished 1971
Headquarters London, England
Head Director of Naval Construction
Role Technical Education Providers
Affiliations Royal Navy
Parent Department Education Department
Succeeded by None

The Royal Dockyard School was first established at Chatham Dockyard England in 1843 to provide technical eduction of shipwrights at HM Dockyards until 1971. The dockyard schools were administered by a head teacher and supporting teachers and instructing staff. The schools themselves were under the supervision of the Education Department of the Royal Navy.

1) History

Early in the 1840s, the Admiralty, recognizing the need to improve the technical education of shipwrights in the naval dockyards, approved the establishment of apprentice schools. The first Dockyard School opened in Chatham Dockyard in 1843, followed by schools in Portsmouth and Devonport in 1844, and Sheerness, Pembroke, Deptford and Woolwich by 1846. At first the purpose of the schools was to improve the technical competence of shipwright apprentices and to identify those that showed the most academic aptitude for further education in order to qualify as naval constructors. Later, as the Royal Navy went from wooden ships with sails to steel, electricity and steam propulsion, the mission of the schools expanded to include the technical education of apprentices in all the trades. Over the years the Dockyard Schools at Chatham, Devonport, Portsmouth, Rosyth (reestablished in 1940) and Sheerness developed a four-year education programme for the most academically qualified students that lasted until 1958 when the last traditional classes of fourth years graduated. After the War, with countries of the Empire gaining independence and Britain’s worldwide role shrinking, overseas dockyards were closed, and the number of apprentices greatly reduced. Eventually the Dockyard Schools were phased out completely by 1971. The dockyard schools were administered by a head teacher and supporting teachers and instructing staff.

2) Royal Dockyard Schools

2.1) Royal Dockyard School Chatham (1843-1952)

Head Teach Royal Dockyard School Chatham

2.2) Royal Dockyard School Portsmouth (1844-1952)

Head Teacher Royal Dockyard School Portsmouth

2.3) Royal Dockyard School Devonport (1844-1952)

Head Teacher Royal Dockyard School Devonport

2.4) Royal Dockyard School Sheerness (1846-1952

Head Teacher Royal Dockyard School Sheerness

2.5) Royal Dockyard School Pembroke (1846-1952)

Head Teacher Royal Dockyard School Pembroke

2.6) Royal Dockyard School Deptford (1846-1952)

Head Teacher Royal Dockyard School Deptford

2.7) Royal Dockyard School Woolwich (1843-1958)

Head Teacher Royal Dockyard School Woolwich

2.8) Royal Dockyard School Rosyth (1846-1971)

Head Teacher Royal Dockyard School Rosyth

3) Sources

  1. Frank E. King (2013) The Royal Dockyard Schools and their Education System, The Mariner's Mirror, 99:4, 464-473, DOI: 10.1080/00253359.2013.844542.
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00253359.2013.844542
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