Blue Coat marches forward as academy

Reporter: Andrew Rudkin
Date published: 21 July 2011

BLUE Coat School witnessed an historical moment on a grand old traditional day.

The official conversion of the Oldham school’s status in becoming an academy took place on Founder’s Day, an annual event that’s occurred since the early 19th century.

The declaration of signatures was performed by The Bishop of Middleton, the Right Rev Mark Davies; chairman of governors, John Lees; chairman of The Henshaw Trust, Colin Platt; and Rev David Penny, of the Oldham West Deanery, prior to the parade yesterday.

Head teacher Julie Hollis called the change the next stage in the school’s evolution.

She said: “The school is very mature, strong and resilient. In becoming an academy, it means we are taking control.

“We will be carrying all our own responsibilities and the school is ready for this step.”

Academies are state-funded schools which receive their funding direct from the Government and are outside local-authority control.

Last month, the school’s governing body resolved unanimously to convert the school to academy status.

Among the VIP guests on the momentous day was Oldham Mayor, Councillor Richard Knowles.

More than 1,000 marchers, including pupils, staff and guests, converged at Oldham War Memorial, where wreaths were laid, followed by a service at Oldham Parish Church.

Founder Thomas Henshaw left an endowment for the Egerton Street school of £40,000 after he died in 1810, which led to the opening of a boys’ boarding school in 1834, before evolving into what it is today.

The Bishop of Middleton said: “It is a tremendous effort by the school and I am proud of what has been achieved here.”

A TRIO of teachers will be bidding farewell to Blue Coat School after chalking up a hundred years of service between them.
Alison Clayton, Jim Hall and Chris Emmerson will all be retiring when the end of term bell rings tomorrow.

All three have taught and inspired countless students over the years through a wide range of subjects.

Head teacher Julie Hollis said: “All three are very committed, very dedicated and very loyal teachers.

“There is a lot more to being a teacher than teaching, for example Mrs Emerson has been crucial in helping students gain places into university for many years.

“Mrs Clayton has been very very important in supporting and ensuring children through their GCSEs.

“Mr Hall is a very popular teacher and has already offered to help in the future, despite his retirement.”