Liverpool Blue Coat School

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Liverpool Blue Coat School
Liverpool Blue Coat School.png
Motto Non Sibi Sed Omnibus
(Not for Oneself but for All)
Established 1708
Type Grammar school;
Headteacher Mrs Debbie Silcock
Founders Bryan Blundell and Rev. Robert Styth
Location Church Road
L15 9EE
England Coordinates: 53°23′35″N 2°54′58″W / 53.393°N 2.916°W / 53.393; -2.916
DfE number 341/5404
DfE URN 137916 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 963
Gender Coeducational (since 2002)
Ages 11–18
Publication The Squirrel
Forms      Bingham
Former pupils Old Blues
School Song Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
Website Liverpool Blue Coat School

The Liverpool Blue Coat School is a grammar school with academy status located in Wavertree, Liverpool, England. It is the only grammar school in the city. The school was for many years a boys' school but as of September 2002 it has reverted to its original coeducational remit.

The Blue Coat School holds a long-standing academic tradition; examination results consistently place the school top of the local, and near the head of national GCSE and A-level league tables.[1]

In 2004 the school received a government grant of almost £8 million, together with more than £1 million from the school's foundation governors, facilitating a major expansion and redevelopment of the school site.[2]


The school was founded in 1708 by Mr Bryan Blundell and the Rev Robert Styth as "a school for teaching poor children to read, write and cast accounts".[3] The original Blue Coat School expanded rapidly and a new building, the present Bluecoat Arts Centre, opened in 1718. At the start of the 20th century it was decided that the school needed to move from the polluted town centre to somewhere quieter, and the village of Wavertree was the site chosen.[3] The architects chosen for the design of the new building were Briggs, Wolstenholme & Thornely,[4] most notable for the design of the Port of Liverpool Building.[5] In 1906 the school took possession of the building[3] and was later designated a Grade II* listed building.[6] Later additions include a clock tower and the Fenwick Memorial Chapel: used for assemblies by the school.[3]

At 7.00pm on 25 August 1958 a fire broke out at the school, on the roof of the North Front. Although 170 boarding pupils were in the building at the time, nobody was hurt during the fire, though the building sustained some water and smoke damage.[7]

21st century redevelopment[edit]

In 2004, work commenced on a substantial redevelopment of the Wavertree site. The original buildings remained intact, but the southern wing of the school was converted into private accommodation and sold to part-fund the development. The school chapel, clock tower, board room, and former music room, together with administrative rooms and the formal entrance to the original building, were transferred to a new school foundation and made available to hire for weddings and other private functions.

A number of buildings that had been added to the northern side of the site during the second half of the 20th century - including the swimming pool, sixth form centre, sports hall and squash courts - were demolished to make way for new facilities. The North Wing of the original school was renovated, and a new building extended the wing into the area previously known as the North Yard. New facilities within this redevelopment included modern laboratories, a new school entrance and administration block, music rooms, a recording studio and dance studio, plus dining and sports halls.

The remainder of the former North Yard was upgraded to provide improved outdoor sports facilities.

The old dining hall, beneath the Shirley Hall in the centre of the original building, was converted into a new library, with a mezzanine ICT suite. The previous library space, itself a former dormitory, was refurbished as a sixth form facility.

Tricentenary appeal[edit]

The school celebrated its 300th birthday in 2008, making it the longest educating school in Liverpool. A number of celebrations took place, and to mark the occasion the school undertook to raise £1,000,000 to fund two new developments: to provide an all-weather playing surface on the present playing fields; and to convert part of the East Wing of the original building into a Year 13 study area.

The school organised a range of fund-raising activities, including annual summer fairs. As of September 2007 the total raised stood at £416,886.

Clubs & societies[edit]

The school offers many extracurricular activities, including:[8]

  • Art Club - Mr. Cain
  • Badminton Club - Mr. Caulkin
  • Chess Club - Ms. Lunney
  • Community Service - Mrs. MacKenzie
  • Computer Club - Mr. Keating
  • Craft Club - Mr. Ainsworth
  • Creative Writing Club - Mrs. Ludlow
  • Dance Club - Amy Perrin
  • Debating Society - Shashwat Singh and Rishi Banerjee
  • Dramatics Society - Imogen Cooper
  • Sixth Form Drama - Ellie Macdonald
  • Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme - Mrs. Maskell
  • Engineering Society -
  • Faith Explored - Mr. Pearson
  • Football Team - Mr. Phelan
  • Friendship Club
  • Gym Club - Mr. Phelan
  • Hockey Club - Ms. Adlington
  • Junior Debating Society - Joe Small and Sophia Lawrence
  • Law Society - Ellie MacDonald
  • Maths Games Club - Ellie Lewis
  • Maths Club - James Day, Stas Zhydkov
  • Medical Ethics - Sandor Bako, Jonathan Chu, Rubab Abdi, Amy Pinkney and Marianne Quinn
  • Music Society: Orchestra, Jazz Band, Concert Band and Choir - Mr. Emery and Miss Horton
  • Philosophy Club - Ms. Murphy
  • Physics Society - Phoebe Hunter
  • Social Services Committee - Gavin Spruin
  • School Librarian - Mr. Newton

The school is also known for organising trips to Kenya every two years, where charitable sixth form pupils fundraise to help some of the poorest Kenyans in a month-long scheme during the summer holidays.


The school is known for its unique and highly recognised uniform, which consists of a white shirt/blouse, a grey pullover/cardigan, and a navy blue blazer with the school coat of arms over the breast pocket. Depending on which part of the school a pupil is in, they also wear the following:

For Years 7-11:

  • Grey trousers/grey skirt;
  • Grey socks/tights and black shoes;
  • A royal blue tie with the school coat of arms embroidered on it; and
  • Blue braiding around the lapels, and one blue band around each cuff, of their blazer.

For Years 12 and 13:

  • Boys: grey/black trousers, grey/black socks and black shoes;
  • Girls: blue skirt; blue socks/tights, and black shoes;
  • Usually a royal blue tie; and
  • Gold braiding around the lapels, and one gold band around each cuff, of their blazer.

If a member of Year 12 or Year 13 is a prefect, they may have one additional gold band around each cuff, as well as a prefect badge.


The school is also known for its wide variety of school ties, the most common of which is the royal blue tie with an embroidered school coat of arms. Sixth Form Prefects may wear a navy blue tie with alternating blue and gold stripes, and those who are in the first XI may wear the school sports tie, a navy blue tie with gold school coats of arms criss-crossing it. The Old Blues tie, a navy blue tie with alternating squirrels (the school's crest) and blue stripes, is worn by those pupils whose father was once a student at the school (and therefore members of the Old Blues Society). Other ties occasionally seen include a navy blue with two gold stripes, and a navy blue tie with stripes in the four school form colours (awarded for being in the first XI for 3 separate sports teams).

The East Wing[edit]

East Wing clock tower

The East Wing of the school comprises the clock tower, chapel, the former administration block and the former music rooms, plus a residential apartment. Thanks to a large investment by the school's charitable foundation the whole of the East Wing was fully refurbished as part of the school redevelopment. Notable improvements include:

  • All four clock faces on the clock tower being replaced, and the clock mechanism repaired
  • Extensive repairs to the roof and masonry work
  • Redecoration and restoration of the chapel and its organ
  • Restoration of the historic board room
  • Installation of catering facilities for private functions
  • The mothballing of the former headmaster's study and office areas for use as a future Year 13 study centre.

The facilities of the Foundation, including chapel, board room, reception areas and the Shirley Hall are all available for hire, including for weddings and religious services, as of July 2006.

House System[edit]

The school currently has four houses. Upon entrance in Year 7, pupils are allocated a form which they will be a member of throughout their time at The Blue Coat School. As well as the students, teachers at the school are often members of a house. There are approximately thirty students in a form and approximately 250 students per house. The houses are governed by a House Council which are composed of a small number of sixth form students and a member of staff. There are regular inter-house competitions, ranging from the inter-house hockey competition to inter-house debating competitions, in which the houses can gain house points which are then added to a running total and published in league tables, culminating in the annual inter-house league table. The current school houses are as follows:

  •      Bingham
  •      Blundell
  •      Graham
  •      Shirley

There are also a number of boarding houses that were discontinued when the school ceased to be a boarding school in the late 20th century. These included:[9]

  • Earle
  • MacAuley
  • Stythe
  • Tinne

Prefect system[edit]

There are usually between 40-55 prefects appointed from the sixth form, representing about one sixth of the sixth form as a whole. Pupils in Years 12 and 13 are eligible to become prefects.

Prefects are charged with maintaining order in the corridors during break and lunchtimes, alongside members of the teaching staff. The prefects also play a significant role in other events, including the school entrance examination, prize giving ceremony, and Founders' Day service, and also assist with after-school Parents' Association events, such as discos, fairs and quizzes.

There are four ranks of prefect, appointed by staff nomination and interview:

  • Prefect
  • Senior Prefect
  • Deputy Head of School
  • Head of School

There are also prefects with responsibility for specific facilities, such as Library and IT provision, nominated by senior teaching staff from each specialism.

Since the readmittance of girls to the school in September 2002, a Head Boy and Head Girl have been appointed, sharing the title of Head of School. The Heads of School are supported two Deputy Head Boys and two Deputy Head Girls, and a team of Senior Prefects, and are members ex officio of the Sixth Form Council . The Heads of School also attend school Leadership Group meetings and Parents' Association meetings. They have their own office facilities, and play an active role in all parts of school organisation, including parents' evenings and other after-school events.

The Heads of School and their deputies also play a part in deciding school policy, especially with regard to the sixth form. Providing a formal communications channel between the teaching staff and the sixth form, they meet regularly with the headteacher and the head of sixth form to discuss issues important to their peers.

Music Society[edit]

The school has an active Music Society, including an orchestra, concert band, choir and jazz band, participating in concerts held throughout the school year. The orchestra takes part in the annual Liverpool Music Festival, and occasions such as prize giving and Founders' Day. The school choir and concert band, which incorporates players of all musical abilities, plays in all school concerts. The choir has toured internationally, including to Venice in 2003, Prague and Vienna in 2005, Northern Spain in 2007 and Leipzig in 2009. As part of the school's 300th birthday celebrations, the music department organised two major concerts, one in St George's Hall and the other at the Philharmonic Hall.

Headmasters and headteachers[edit]

Headteacher Start year End year
Rev Robert Stythe, MA 1708 1713
Mr William Trenton 1717 1723
Mr Theophilus Price 1723 1725
Mr Horton 1725 1775
Rev John Shakleton 1776 1779
Mr John Smith 1779 1799
Mr Robert Parkes 1800
Mr George Chambers 1801 1811
Mr John Fallows 1812 1816
Mr R.W. Bamford 1817 1819
Mr William Forster 1820 1848
Mr Thomas Wood, BA 1849 1862
Mr Thomas Haughton 1863 1867
Mr George Tinker 1868 1869
Mr Thomas Haughton 1870 1888
Mr Arthur Mercer 1889 1920
Mr Harry C. Hughes 1920 1926
Rev R. Bruce Wilson, BA 1927 1944
Rev T.C. Heritage, MA 1944 1945
Mr G.G. Watcyn, BA 1945 1968
Mr H. Peter Arnold-Craft JP, MA (Oxon) 1968 1989
Mr John C. Speller BA, MA (Ed), FRSA 1989 1997
Mr Michael R. Bell BA (Hons) FIMgt 1997 2001
Mr Michael George 'Sandy' Tittershill CertEd. NPQH 2001 2008
Mrs Debbie Silcock BSc PGCE NPQH 2008 2015

Heads of Subjects and Senior Management[edit]

Heads of Subjects[edit]

  • Art - Mrs S. Watson
  • Biology - Mr Kenny
  • Business Studies and Economics - Mr Jamieson
  • Chemistry - Mrs J. Beggs
  • Citizenship - Mrs M. Roberts
  • Design Technology - Mr L. Ainsworth
  • English - Mr T. Kershaw
  • Modern Foreign Languages - Mrs C. Jackson
  • Geography - Mr J. Lamb
  • History - Mr M. Pearson
  • Information Technology and Computing - Mr P. Keating
  • Latin - Dr D. Lawell
  • Mandarin Chinese - Dr L. Zhang
  • Maths - Miss K. Wilson
  • Music - Mr S. Emery
  • Philosophy - Miss Moss
  • Physical Education - Mr J. Dowling
  • Physics - Dr P. Wilde
  • Politics - Mr S. Cox
  • Psychology - Miss A. Murphy
  • Religious Studies - Mrs H. McDonnell
  • General Studies - Mr J. Lamb

Senior Management[edit]

  • Mr S. Shipgood - Head of Key Stage 3
  • Mr N. Barends - Head of Key Stage 4
  • Ms L.A. Holland - Deputy Head of Sixth Form
  • Mrs C. MacKenzie - Head of Sixth Form
  • Mr Cox - Deputy Head and Head of Pastoral Care
  • Mrs Silcock - Head Teacher
  • Mrs Alison Hughes - Director of Resources

Notable former pupils[edit]

Notable People Associated with the School[edit]

  • W. H. Jude, composer and organist. Jude was the school's organist in the late 19th century.
  • Norman Pannell finance manager and politician. Pannell was a governor of the school.


  1. ^ "Welcome to the Liverpool Blue Coat School". Liverpool Blue Coat School. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  2. ^ Salmon, Tony (2007). "Save the Liverpool Blue Coat School". Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  3. ^ a b c d "A brief history of the school". The Liverpool Blue Coat School. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  4. ^ Pollard, Pevsner, Joseph, Richard, Nikolaus, Sharples (2006). Lancashire: Liverpool and the southwest. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  5. ^ "The Port of Liverpool Building". Retrieved 2009-06-29. [dead link]
  6. ^ "The Liverpool Blue Coat School General information". Schools Net. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  7. ^ School magagazine article, 1985
  8. ^ "Clubs & Societies". The Liverpool Blue Coat School. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  9. ^

External links[edit]