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A history of the Greenwich Blue Coat Schools

Greenwich Council Cabinet votes to close the School

After 312 years of providing education in the borough, Greenwich Council have agreed to a proposal from the Director of Education to close Blackheath Bluecoat School

This decision, made by the Greenwich Council Cabinet on 17th January 2012 was in spite of a public consultation in which over 90% of the responses opposed closure. The Staff, pupils, parents and governors have conducted a vigorous campaign to save the school, but all to no avail. The proposal will see the school close in August 2014.

The school has been through a difficult period over the past few years but since it became part of a federation with St Cecilia’s Wandsworth Church of England School there has been a rapid improvement. Unfortunately this improvement has not yet had time to change some public perceptions of the school and the pupil roll has been falling over the past few years which has resulted in a large budget deficit. This is the Director of Education’s main argument for closure.

I have personally been associated with the school for 43 years, working there on the teaching staff until 1998 and then as a member of the support staff team until 2006. I am currently voluntary staff chaplain and a member of the governing board as well as School Archivist. I have been really impressed with progress made over the past two years.

The improvements which have been achieved  are staggering. 3 years ago the headline pass rate at GCSE grades A to C was 19%. In the Summer of 2012 it had improved to 55%, the result of tremendous hard work on the part of pupils supported and encouraged by a dedicated team of skilled and committed teachers. The school has been stabilised and carefully reorganised with a strong senior leadership team. The 2010 OFSTED report rated the school as satisfactory with good capacity for sustained improvement, a judgement bourne out by the examination results which were 6% better than the OFSTED target of 42%.  

The Section 48 Inspection which followed the OFSTED inspection  and evaluates the extent to which the school is distinctively and recognisably a Christian institution said this:

The school has improved significantly since the last inspection. Previously, Christian vision and values were not embedded into the life of the school. Under strong leadership, brought about through the federation, significant changes have been made which make explicit the school’s Christian foundation. The school is now beginning to develop a clear Christian identity. Capacity for further improvement is good.

An unannounced OfSTED monitoring visit in November 2011 found that the school  had made good progress and was continuing to improve.

As well as making outstanding academic progress the school  has also provided really excellent  and caring support to pupils in challenging circumstances.

So after 312 years providing education in Greenwich is this the end of the story . . .?

A history of Blackheath Bluecoat School

1700 ~ 2012 Go to School History Go to School History

Angry parents confront council See news report here.


Consultation document

Pupil silent protest: See news report here.

Blackheath Bluecoat School 2012



Executive Headteacher, Jeffery Risbridger retires

Jeffery Risbridger, who has been Executive Headteacher of the Federation of St Cecilia’s Wandworth and Blackheath Bluecoat Church of England Schools, retired in July 2012..

He has worked in education for nearly 30 years, 14 years as a Headteacher. In 2002 he was appointed as Headteacher at St Cecilia’s Wandsworth, a completely new Church of England School. From 2009 he led the federation between St Cecilia’s and BBCS which resulted in some tremendous improvements at BBCS and the best two years of examination results in the school’s history.

Mr Risbridger is planning to train for ordination in the Church of England.

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