Our History

Our Beginnings

The history of RTSFC is a varied and interesting one, stretching as far back as 1760. Our namesake is Alderman Richard Taunton (1684 – 1752) who was a former Mayor of Southampton. Taunton left a bequest which was to be used for the ‘bringing up children in work and industry, fitting them for place at sea’.

The Very First Premises

Taunton’s scholars were taught in a variety of locations across Southampton, and it wasn’t until 1864 (over 110 years after Richard Taunton’s death) that the school moved to its very own premises on School Road.

In 1875, Taunton’s School was renamed Taunton’s Trade School and it was established as an Endowed School, with its very own Board of Governors. It was designed to provide ‘a sound education with special regard to Technical and Commercial training’. Despite a 1878 extension, by 1895 the school was split across five sites in order to cope with increasing numbers.

richard taunton college

Between 1910 and 1924, Taunton’s Trade School became a public Secondary School under the Board of Education and it reverted back to the name Taunton’s School. Pressure of numbers required the purchase of a site and in 1925 the foundation stone of a new building was laid at Highfield. The building, which cost £48,286, was officially opened in 1926. In 1969, Taunton’s School became a Sixth Form College for boys called Richard Taunton College. It began admitting girls in 1978.

Southampton Grammar School for Girls

Meanwhile, in 1902, the Local Authorities became responsible for secondary education and Southampton Council decided to help fund a Girls School. Southampton Grammar School for Girls was opened in 1907 in a second-hand premises on Argyle Road. They soon outgrew their cramped premise and Miss A.M. Platt (Headmistress 1928-1955) fought long and hard for a new home. In 1936, a new building on Hill Lane was opened with much fanfare. The building was once hailed as ‘Southampton’s Educational Palace’ – such was its lavish design and appointment.

One of the first sixth form colleges

Southampton Grammar School for Girls became one of the first sixth form colleges to be established in the country under the futuristic Miss M.L. Vale (Headmistress 1955-1975). The Southampton College for Girls, as it was renamed, was the only ever all girls sixth form college. It was Miss Vale, who was determined that post sixteen education should offer both academic and vocational courses and she led the way in promoting the open access sixth form college system not just in the U. K. but globally. Boys were admitted from 1979, along with a name change to Hill College, reflecting the location of the college.

A Tale of Two Colleges

In 1989, Richard Taunton College merged with Hill College. They took the name Taunton’s College, but chose to refurbish and occupy the Hill Lane site. The College became a Further Education Corporation.

To Present

In 2012 the college was renamed Richard Taunton Sixth Form College. Our campus continues to grow and thrive, with additions that include a new Music Block in 2014 and a new Independent Learning Centre in 2015.

We became a founding member of the Lighthouse Learning Trust in 2017; a multi-academy trust, created in partnership with St Vincent College in Gosport. A number of students aged 16-19 enrol each year for full time courses.