Mike Leader© 2019 All Rights Reserved

A history of the Greenwich Blue Coat Schools

1700 ~ 2014
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In 1998 Kay Bickley was appointed headteacher when John Thurley left to become an adviser to the London Diocesan Board of Education. She had been deputy headteacher at St Marylebone Girls’s School and previous to that an Inspector in the London Borough of Wandsworth.

The school had been placed in an Ofsted category of ‘Serious Weakness’ due to a budget deficit. Mrs Bickley set about re-organising the staffing structure and reducing overall costs and managed to clear the deficit in two years. This meant that there were a number of staff redundancies and changes.

During 1998 - 1999 there were a number of developments in the school. The school day was extended to make each lesson 50 minutes long. An electronic registration system was introduced and every teacher was able to send information wirelessly to the central computer in the school office. The Joint Sixth Form with John Roan School was ended and Blackheath Bluecoat once again had an independent Sixth Form which was maintained during a Greenwich wide reorganisation of Sixth Forms in to Post 16 Centres. A new admission policy was adopted and a home-school contract introduced and a School Council established. The school library introduced a computerised issuing and monitoring system known as “LIMES” and a Sixth Form Study area was created  by extending the Library into the old Gordon locker area.

Mike Leader, who had been deputy headteacher since 1990, took early retirement but ‘came back’ to work part-time as the school Bursar. A centralised ordering system for general stock was developed to allow the school to get ‘best value’ for its consumables budget.

On 18 October 1999 the School Chapel, which had been relocated from Wolfe Block to the ground floor of Gordon Block, was re-dedicated by the Rt Rev’d Colin Buchanan, Bishop of Woolwich. The new Chapel was more spacious and symbolically sited at the centre of the school. A team of voluntary chaplains ministered regularly to each Year led by the Rev’d Jeffrey Heskins and the Eucharist was celebrated every week.

Mrs Gillian Page, who had been Chair of Governors since October 1989 retired and the Rev’d Mike Marshall, Vicar of St John the Evangelist Church, Blackheath was elected as Chair.

In an effort to achieve Language College status (which was unfortunately not successful) the school was involved in two projects. The ‘On-Line’ project promoted an understanding of Francophone countries and culture through cross-curricular co-operation and the Comenius Project entitled “The New Millennium: Preparing Pupils for a Changing Labour Market” involved working with four other European schools.

In March 1999 the Sixth Form facilities which had earlier been moved from the ground floor of Vanbrugh to the Old Youth Centre in Wolfe were refurbished. A new style pupil planner was introduced to improve home-school communication and to help pupils with their academic development. BIONIC, an exciting anti-bullying project, was initiated by Bridget Shepherd (Joint director of Greenwich Youth for Christ), and 25 pupils attended a two day residential course at Aylesford Priory to develop skills as peer counsellors. The school achieved the Sportsmark Award and this was presented by ex-pupil and West Ham Footballer, Rio Ferdinand.