Kilworthy School was established in 1963 by the Reverand John R.G Lyon as the Kilworthy House Tuition Centre at Kilworthy House, Tavistock, Devon. The Centre was a residential provision for around seven boys who it was deemed would benefit from Lyon’s ‘firm and fair’ teaching style. Lyon was assisted in the management of the Centre by Mike Anderson, who lived on site and managed the premises and grounds, and Kelvin Osbourne, who lived in nearby Tavistock.
Lyon retired from the post of headmaster in 1970. He was succeeded by Steve and Nancy Cawdrey who in turn were succeeded by John and Sue Farrow in 1977. With John as Director, Sue as Head of Education and Keith Coulson as Deputy, the Farrow’s reorganised Kilworthy as a socio-therapeutic community. Kilworthy Community offered alternative education and a residential provision for boys aged thirteen to eighteen who exhibited social and emotional problems that prevented them engaging with mainstream education. Pupils were often referred by Social Services but the Community took both private and state funded students following a compulsory four day trial period. Kilworthy provided a fifty two week provision for it’s students and accommodated up to twenty boys with ten members of staff living on site.
In 1987 Keith Coulson took over as Director/Headmaster of the Community with Graham Dewey as Deputy. The School continued until c.1994 after which the site was acquired by Chelfham Senior School. Chelfham had opened in 1986 in Bere Alston, Devon for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. A continuing education department was established at Kilworthy House with a special focus on students aged fourteen to twenty-two with complex autistic impairments.