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
Headmaster M. A. Pennington
Chaplain Revd. Canon Janet Eastwood
Deputy Headmasters S. Yates
N. Roberts
Chair of Governors Provost J.M. Shaw
S.W. Elliott
Founders Bryan Blundell and Rev. Robert Styth
Location Church Road
L15 9EE
53°23′35″N 2°54′58″W / 53.393°N 2.916°W / 53.393; -2.916Coordinates: 53°23′35″N 2°54′58″W / 53.393°N 2.916°W / 53.393; -2.916
DfE URN 137916 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 963
Gender Coeducational (since 2002)
Ages 11–18
Publication The Squirrel
Houses      Bingham
Former pupils Old Blues
School Hymn Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
Website Liverpool Blue Coat School

The Liverpool Blue Coat School is a grammar school in Wavertree, Liverpool, England. It was founded in 1708 by Bryan Blundell and the Reverend Robert Stythe as the Liverpool Blue Coat Hospital and was for many years a boys' boarding school before reverting in September 2002 to its original coeducational remit.

The school holds a long-standing academic tradition. Examination results consistently place it top of the national GCSE and A-level tables. In 2016 Blue Coat was ranked as the best school in the country based on GCSE results.[1] In 2015 it was The Sunday Times State School of the Year.[2] The acceptance rate for admissions is around fifteen percent.

In 2004 the school received a government grant of almost £8 million, together with £1 million from its foundation governors, enabling an expansion and redevelopment of its site.[3]


The Bluecoat School[edit]

An engraving of the original school in the city centre

The school was founded in 1708 by Bryan Blundell and the Rev Robert Styth, a theology graduate of Brasenose College, Oxford[4] as "a school for teaching poor children to read, write and cast accounts".[5] The original charity school expanded rapidly and a new building, the present Bluecoat Arts Centre, opened in 1718. By the time of Blundell’s death in 1756 there were 70 boys and 30 girls at the school, many apprenticed to local trades, especially maritime ones connected to the port. Some Old Blues became mates or masters of their ships, many emigrating to the colonies. After Blundell’s death his sons further expanded the building to accommodate 200 pupils, with a new workroom, sick room, chapel and refectory. A reminder of the building’s school days is some graffiti dating from the 18th century, carved into cornerstones in a secluded part of the front courtyard.[6]

Move to Wavertree[edit]

Wavertree campus
Clock tower

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.[5] The architects chosen for the design of the new building were Briggs, Wolstenholme & Thornely,[7] most notable for the design of the Port of Liverpool Building.[8] In 1906 the school took possession of the building[5] and was later designated a Grade II* listed building.[9] Later additions include a clock tower and the Fenwick Memorial Chapel: used for assemblies by the school.[5]


In 2004 work began on redeveloping the Wavertree site. Original buildings remained intact but the southern wing 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 private functions. Buildings that had been added to the north end of the site during the second half of the 20th century, including a swimming pool, a sixth-form centre, a gym 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 it into the area previously known as the North Yard. This included laboratories, a new main entrance, an administration block, music rooms, recording and dance studios, and dining and sports halls. The remainder of the North Yard was upgraded to provide better outdoor sports facilities. The old dining hall, beneath Shirley Hall at the heart of the original building, became a library with a mezzanine ICT suite. The previous library space, itself a former dormitory, was refurbished as the new sixth-form facility.


The school uniform consists of:[10]

  • navy blue blazer with school badge
  • V-neck grey school pullover or cardigan with school crest
  • white shirt/blouse
  • school tie
  • knee-length grey skirt for girls
  • grey trousers for boys
  • grey socks/tights and black shoes


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 (fig. 1). Sixth Form Prefects may wear a navy blue tie with alternating blue and gold stripes (fig. 2), 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 (fig. 3). 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)(Fig. 4). Other ties occasionally seen include a navy blue with two gold stripes (Fig. 5), 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)(Fig. 6).

Fig.1- Royal Blue Tie
Fig. 2- Sixth Form Prefect Tie
Fig. 3- First XI Tie
Fig. 4- Old Blues Tie
Fig. 5- Navy Blue Tie with Two Gold Stripes
Fig 6. Tie for Members of the First XI in Three Sports

House system[edit]

The school currently has six 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 Heads of House, House Deputies, Form Captains and a member of staff. There are regular inter-house competitions, ranging from the inter-house football 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 newest house is Tod which will become the sixth house of the current school in September 2017 to accommodate the 30 new additional first year students, and named after one of the school's former Provosts. 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.[11]

School Houses

  •      Bingham
  •      Blundell
  •      Graham
  •      Shirley
  •      Styth
  •      Tod

Boarding Houses

  •      Earle
  •      MacAuley
  •      Styth
  •      Tinne

Brotherly Society[edit]

The school's alumni association is the Brotherly Society, founded in 1838. Alumni are known as "Old Blues".[12] The society was set up to provide help, advice and in some cases financial assistance to students for at least two years after leaving the school.[13] Since the Second World War there has been less need for such assistance so the Society has turned its efforts towards objects that would benefit the School in general.

The generosity of the Society can be found throughout the Blue Coat School’s history. In 1938, to celebrate the Society’s centenary, the Society provided the oak pews in the chapel. In 1963 the Society provided the stained glass south window of the Chapel to celebrate its 125th anniversary, and in 1952 the Old Blues’ Memorial Library was presented in remembrance of the Old Blues who gave their lives in the two World Wars.[13]

The Squirrel[edit]

The school's publication is The Squirrel. The magazine is currently published annually and is almost entirely written and produced by students. The magazine was first released in the Summer of 1949 under the leadership of the Provost John Bingham in order to show the 'fruits of hard work' and the activities, achievements, and involvement of the students and staff in school life.[14]

During the 1950s The Squirrel entered an era of particular popularity and enthusiasm, ultimately leading to its publication becoming a termly occurrence. It was during this period that the magazine developed some of its most memorable features, notably including De Praefectis which recorded the various humorous situations and conversations of prefects at the school and is mostly remembered for satirising the eccentricities of individual prefects, often employing a pretentious overuse of Latin to this effect. In subsequent years various other magazines written by students were produced as parodies of The Squirrel, most notably in the form of The Swivel which gained an underground following and was particularly popular on account of the strong criticisms it leveled at the school and its masters.[14]

In 2017 the school published The Squirrel both in paper form and online for the first time. A new website 'The Squirrel Blog' was created both to publish current and future editions of the magazine and to digitalise the school's archive of every issue of The Squirrel since 1949.

Headmasters and Headmistress[edit]

Headmaster/Headmistress Start year End year
Rev Robert Styth, MA (Oxon) 1708 1713
Mr William Trenton 1717 1723
Mr Theophilus Price 1723 1725
Mr Horton 1725 1775
Rev John Shakleton 1776 1779
Mr John Smith (Old Blue) 1779 1799
Mr Robert Parkes 1800 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 (Cantab) 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 (Oxon) 1927 1944
Rev T.C. Heritage, MA (Oxon) 1944 1945
Mr G.G. Watcyn, BA 1945 1968
Mr H.P. 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
Mr Michael Pennington BSc Hons PGCE NPQH 2015


Provost Start year End year
Rev. Robert Stythe, M.A. 1709 1713
The Rt. Hon. Bryan Blundell 1713 1756
Richard Blundell 1756 1760
Jonathan Blundell 1760 1796
Nicholas Ashton 1796 1797
The Rt. Hon. Clayton Tarleton 1797 1798
John Bolton 1798 1799
Edward Houghton 1799 1800
James Gerrard, M.D. 1800 1802
William Cubbin 1802 1805
John Keay 1805 1808
William Leigh 1808 1809
George Brown 1809 1811
Edward Sephton 1811 1812
William Beckwith 1812 1813
Matthew Gregson 1813 1814
Bryan Blundell 1814 1815
The Rt. Hon. Henry Blundell-Hollinshead 1815 1817
James Bourne 1817 1818
Rev. William Blundell B.A. 1818 1819
Richard Dobson 1819 1835
The Rt. Hon. James Aspinall 1835 1838
Anthony Swainson 1838 1848
Joseph Langton 1848 1849
Richard Gibson 1849 1854
Edward Guy Deane 1854 1857
William Langton 1857 1870
Hugh Perkins 1870 1885
John Ernest Tinne 1885 1926
Louis Cappel 1926 1928
John J. Verdin-Cooke 1928 1932
John A. Tinne 1932 1933
John Bingham 1933 1950
F.J. Williams 1950 1955
Sir Alan Todd, C.B.E., L.L.D. 1955 1968
J. Malcolm Harrison 1968 1976
T.I.F. Tod, F.C.A. 1976 1991
Peter Healey, J.P., B.A. 1991 2006
Rodney V. McDermott 2006 2007
Gerard A. Jolliffe 2007 2014
Stephen W. Elliott 2014 2017

Notable former pupils[edit]

Notable people associated with the school[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Salmon, Tony (2007). "Save the Liverpool Blue Coat School". Retrieved 2009-06-24.
  4. ^ "Stermont-Synge". British History Online. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d "A brief history of the school". The Liverpool Blue Coat School. Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 2010-01-06.
  6. ^ "Bluecoat Heritage" (PDF). Bluecoat Chambers. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  7. ^ Pollard, Pevsner, Joseph, Richard, Nikolaus, Sharples (2006). Lancashire: Liverpool and the southwest. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  8. ^ "The Port of Liverpool Building". Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
  9. ^ "The Liverpool Blue Coat School General information". Schools Net. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
  10. ^ "Prospectus: Uniform". The Blue Coat School. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Boarding House Rules (1969)". Liverpool Old Blues. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  12. ^ Kelly, Andy (19 January 2006). "Million-Pound Target for Historic Blue Coat". Liverpool Daily Post. Liverpool. Retrieved 30 January 2016 – via HighBeam Research.
  13. ^ a b "Brotherly Society". The Blue Coat School. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  14. ^ a b "The History of the Squirrel: The Squirrel Blog". Retrieved 2017-10-25.

External links[edit]