Mike Leader© 2017 All Rights Reserved

A history of Blackheath Bluecoat School


1700 ~ 2014
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A major change in the organisation of the school took place in 1992 with the introduction of a year system. Pupils were placed in tutor groups according to their year and House Heads were replaced by Year Heads. The house names were retained for each block.


Following a change of policy by the Local Education Authority the Youth Centre was closed. The Sixth Form room was relocated to the Youth Centre and a small office was created together with another small room which became the School Chapel.


On 26 May 1993 the Bishop of Woolwich, the Rt Rev’d Peter Hall, dedicated the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at a service conducted by the Rev’d Kim Hitch, Rector of St James’ Kidbrooke and a foundation governor. The altar table, lectern and candle stand for the chapel were made by a parent and were dedicated in memory of Stephen Lawrence. The Rev’d Keith Sitch, who was a senior teacher, was responsible for organising worship in the chapel.


The Science department underwent a refurbishment during 1993 and two new science laboratories were adapted from the old sixth form room, together with two other classrooms.


The Learning Support Faculty had developed over the past few years providing for a variety of special needs and operating under the government Code of Practice. With financial help from the Greenwich Blue Coat Foundation a new Learning Resource area was created in Wren block to provide an improved range of facilities. The Wren Centre was officially open on 13 January 1997 by the Rev’d Canon Gerald Greenwood, Director of  Southwark Diocesan Education Board.


Mrs Lynda Baxendale, who was Head of Upper School, died suddenly in 1996. She had been a diabetic for many years and also had undergone heart surgery in previous years. She came to the school after being Head of Sixth Form at the John Roan School and the co-ordinator of the joint sixth form.

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<Back Stephen Lawrence

The death of Stephen Lawrence in

April 1993 was a very traumatic

and tragic event in the history of

the school. Stephen was in Year 12

 (Lower Sixth Form), a quiet and

friendly boy, who was popular both

with his peers and with younger pupils and well regarded by his teachers. On the evening of 22 April Stephen was attacked and fatally stabbed while walking in Eltham, just a short distance from the school. On the following day when the news had been confirmed the pupils were told of this tragic event at special assemblies. A wave of emotion swept through the school and small groups of pupils were found consoling each other in their grief. The usual tranquility of the school community was shattered by such a savage and senseless attack which resulted in the loss of such a promising young life, reminding us all of the dangers inherent in racist intolerance and hate.


The school held a memorial service at St John’s, Blackheath in May and a tree was planted in front of the school to preserve Stephen’s memory. A memorial book was signed by every member of both Blackheath Bluecoat School and the John Roan School and presented to Stephen’s parents. The Stephen Lawrence Memorial Prize was established to be awarded each year to the most promising A level Art & Design student. Stephen’s father, Neville, visited the school to speak with groups of pupils.

The school was also saddened in the same year by the sudden death of Mr Vincent Maxwell, a Science teacher, with sickle cell anaemia.