Les Filles de le Croix, a religious order founded in France in 1641, included in its mission providing girls with the same educational opportunities as boys. At the beginning of the second world war, the Sisters had a school in Falmouth, but wanted to open for boarders. They bought Tremough and the school opened in 1943.
In 1970, I was a newly qualified teacher seeking a post in Cornwall. A lecturer told me about Tremough Convent – I thought the chances of a vacancy for a Maths teacher were remote, but he kept asking if I had heard, so I applied, to show that I had tried. I could not have known that my letter of application would arrive on the same day a Maths teacher announced that she wished to retire! – and so in due course I was appointed. I was delighted but did not expect to stay for more than a year or two – I remained for twenty eight.
The academic standard was good and the secret was excellent discipline – not oppressive, but it was the norm. New pupils did not always come with good manners and behaviour, but they soon adapted. Teachers had a warm relationship with the pupils and the whole atmosphere lent itself to high standards of behaviour, academic achievement and university entrance. It was a very special place. The Sisters set standards of love and care which permeated the whole school. The atmosphere of kindness and welcome was almost tangible.
Sadly, times change. Many boarders were sponsored by the armed forces and when their criteria changed, numbers reduced. At the same time, a boys’ school became co-ed and parents with both boys and girls preferred them to attend the same school. The Sisters sacrificed so much to keep the school open, but could not ward off the inevitable. Tremough closed, with much grief and sadness, in July 1998. My time there was one of unfailing joy. I miss it still and it is a pleasure to hear how, after all these years, past pupils speak so highly of their time at Tremough.