Mike Leader© 2019 All Rights Reserved

A history of the Greenwich Blue Coat Schools

1700 ~ 2014
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Sheila Houliston retired in 1985 and John Thurley was appointed headteacher from September. He had been deputy headteacher at Haverstock School in North West London and previous to that Head of Mathematics at Brooke House School, Hackney. This was a period of stability for the school. Faculties began the process of implementing the requirements of the National Curriculum and a programme of monitoring and assessment was developed. The school was committed to the composition of a Record of Achievement for each pupil leaving school or continuing into post 16 provision. In 1988 the school was shocked by the untimely death of Mick Buck, Head of Science.

The school now developed a joint sixth form offer with the John Roan School so that a full range of academic and vocational courses were offer to pupils staying on. In 1991 the structure of the senior management team changed so that it now consisted of the Headteacher (Mr John Thurley), two deputy headteachers (Mrs Valerie Randerson and Mr Mike Leader), Head of Upper School (Mrs Lynda Baxendale) and Head of Lower School (Mr Chris Owen). The two heads of school were responsible for overseeing discipline and supporting House Heads, freeing the Head and Deputies for a more strategic focus.  A system of House Chaplains had been established with a local Anglican incumbent attached as a volunteer to each house.



June 1991 saw one of the most dramatic events in the school history when a major fire broke out during the school day. The fire began in a stationery cupboard in the typewriting room in Vanbrugh Block. The school was evacuated quickly and the fire brigade soon had the fire under control. The fire severely damaged one room and caused extensive smoke damage to the whole first floor of the block. Pupils were sent home for a week while the staff reorganised rooms and resources. It was established that the fire had been started deliberately and a year 10 pupil was permanently excluded.

The whole first floor of Vanbrugh Block had to be refurbished with extensive repairs needed to room at the heart of the blaze. The total cost was over £750,000 and the block was not fully functional until well into the Autumn Term.

John Thurley - Picture from promotional brochure

The Great Bluecoat Fire

During this period the school reduced its standard entry to 166 and reduced to four houses, losing Wren House.

To see Pictures and a report of the fire click here