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 Mr. M.A. Pennington
Chaplain Revd. Canon Janet Eastwood
Deputy Headmasters Mr. S. Cox
Mr. N. Roberts
Chair of Governors Provost J.M. Shaw
S.W. Elliott
Founders Bryan Blundell and Rev. Robert Styth
Location Church Road
L15 9EE
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
Houses      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 located in Wavertree, Liverpool, England. It is the only grammar school in the city and was founded in 1708 by Bryan Blundell and the Reverend Robert Stythe as 'The Liverpool Bluecoat Hospital'. The school was for many years a boys' boarding school but as of September 2002 it 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 national GCSE and A-level league tables, with the school being ranked as the 7th best school in the country, based on GCSE results in 2013.[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]


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[3] as "a school for teaching poor children to read, write and cast accounts".[4] The original Blue Coat 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.[5]

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.[4] The architects chosen for the design of the new building were Briggs, Wolstenholme & Thornely,[6] most notable for the design of the Port of Liverpool Building.[7] In 1906 the school took possession of the building[4] and was later designated a Grade II* listed building.[8] Later additions include a clock tower and the Fenwick Memorial Chapel: used for assemblies by the school.[4]

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.[9]


The school has a number of traditions that still survive. Notably the annual Founders' Day celebration, held on 23 April, includes a service with a special liturgy held in the school's Shirley Hall and in Liverpool Cathedral every four years. Founders' Day also consists of a number of speeches from the Headmaster, the Chaplain, the Head Boy and Head Girl and a guest speaker, that highlight the generosity of the founders. Prize Giving which is held at St George's Hall annually also includes a number of speeches from members of the school community. Both these events also see a number of the school's Year Seven students dress in the original bluecoat uniform and the teachers, Head Boy and Head Girl in their gowns and hoods, as is also the case at most school events including daily assemblies held in Shirley Hall and the Chapel. Both Founders' Day and Prize Giving culminate in the singing of the school hymn. Hymns form an important part of the traditional life of the school, with hymns from the school hymn book being sang in assemblies on a daily basis and the tradition of singing the hymn 'God Be with You, Till We Meet Again' in the school chapel at the end of every term. Other traditions still upheld in the school include a candlelit service of Nine Lessons and Carols in the School Chapel at Christmas as well as a more informal service for students which involves the hearty singing of the Twelve Days of Christmas! Other events in the school calendar include the 'Mystery Mile' which is a mile-long run around the field adjacent to the school nicknamed 'The Mystery' and the annual Service of Remembrance held in the Chapel.


The school preprandial grace, once in common use at mealtimes, now reserved for the more formal school occasions is as follows:

Latin English

Qui nos creavit, redemit et pavit, sit benedictus in aeternum. Deus, exaudi orationem nostram. Agimus Tibi gratias, Pater caelestis, pro Bryanus Blundell et Roberto Stythe, Fundatoribus nostris; et pro aliisque benefactoribus nostris; humiliter te precantes ut eorum numerum benignissime adaugeas. Collegium nostrum, et omnes scolares custodi, floreat in corporere, mente et anima. Dotabit nostri princeps, preposito et capellanus et omni aliisque membra fundamentum nostri cum iustitium, et facere populum electrum jubilate. Elizabetham Reginam nostram et subditos eius defende. Pacem da et conserva, per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

May he who hath created, redeemed and provided for us be blessed for ever. Hear our prayer, Lord. We give thee thanks, heavenly Father, for Bryan Blundell, and Robert Stythe, our Founders; and for our other benefactors, humbly beseeching thee that thou wilt add to their number in goodness. Safeguard our school and all its scholars, let them flourish in body, mind and soul. Endue our headmaster, provost and chaplain and all other members of our foundation with righteousness, and make thy chosen people joyful. Defend Elizabeth our Queen and her subjects. Grant peace and preserve it, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Clubs & societies[edit]

The school offers many extracurricular activities, including:[10]

  • 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
  • Current Affairs, Politics and Economics Society - Babak Sharples, Liam Ritchie, Samuel Miley
  • Dance Club - Amy Perrin
  • Debating Society - James Dougherty
  • Dramatics Society - Imogen Cooper
  • Sixth Form Drama - Cassie White
  • Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme - Mrs. Maskell
  • Engineering Society - Daniel Harper, Catherine Abraham, Sam Russell, Chloe Swart, Catherine Butler
  • Faith Explored - Mr. Pearson
  • Football Team - Mr. Phelan
  • Friendship Club
  • German Society - Danielle Kroin
  • Gym Club - Mr. Phelan
  • Hockey Club - Ms. Adlington
  • History Society- Ellie MacDonald
  • Junior Debating Society - Megan Barron, Aleena Ashraf and Ayesha Ali
  • Law Society - Jane Carney and Harry Davies
  • Maths Games Club - Ellie Lewis
  • Maths Society - Kenny Chen-Barraclough
  • Medical Ethics - Jack Wang, and board of year group co-chairs.
  • Music Society: Orchestra, Jazz Band, Concert Band and Choir - Mr. Emery and Miss Horton
  • Philosophy Club - Ms. Murphy
  • Physics Society - Phoebe Hunter
  • Raspberry Pi Club - Mr Sands
  • Social Services Committee - Gavin Spruin
  • Squirrel Magazine - Mrs. O'Rourke

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 (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

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, soon to be expanded to five in September 2015. 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 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 and their respective Heads of House are as follows:

  •      Bingham - Liam Ritchie, Louisa Wanless
  •      Blundell - Joni Chan, Ellen Lundström
  •      Graham - Sam Miley, Catherine Abraham
  •      Shirley - Ryan Veryard, Hannah Blanchard
  •      Stythe - Ali El-Rhalibi, Cassie White

The newest house is Stythe which was founded in September 2015 to accommodate the 30 new additional first year students, and named after one of the founders Reverend Robert Stythe.

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:[11]

  • 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 is noted for having an active and strong Music Department and Society, with musical activities including an orchestra, string group, brass group and woodwind group as well as a choir, jazz band, concert band, percussion group, and a junior choir. The school regularly hosts concerts throughout the year, including concerts at the Philharmonic Hall and also a service of Nine Lessons and Carols in the school chapel at Christmas time. The school choir and choral society which incorporates Old Blues and friends of the school as well as students, sing a major work each year, recently including Fauré's Requiem Mass and Orff's Carmina Burana. The choir frequently tours internationally, including to Venice in 2003, Prague and Vienna in 2005, Northern Spain in 2007, Leipzig in 2009, Venice in 2010 and Austria in 2014. The choir also occasionally performs alongside the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, most recently the boys' choir sang in 2014 at a performance of Britten's Welcome Ode with the RLPO and Vasily Petrenko, to much critical acclaim.

Liverpool Blue Coat Brotherly Society[edit]

The Brotherly Society, founded in 1838 is the Blue Coat's Old Blues' Society. The group, made up of Old Blues, was set up to provide help, advice and in some cases financial assistance to students for at least two years after leaving the school.[12] 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.[12]

The current president of the Brotherly Society is Mr. Keith Caulkin.

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 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.

Nick Barends, the Deputy Head in 2010 was sacked in July that year over allegations of a sexual relationship with a sixth form student, but has since appealed the decision and was reinstated in September of the same year. Investigations found no 'evidence' of a sexual relationship. [13] [14]

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

Heads of Subjects and Senior Management[edit]

Heads of Subjects[edit]

  • Art - Mrs S. Watson
  • Biology - Mr Kenny
  • Business Studies and Economics - Mr Watkins
  • Chemistry - Mrs J. Beggs
  • Citizenship - Mrs M. Roberts
  • Design Technology - Mr L. Ainsworth
  • Economics - Mr M. Watkins
  • 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
  • Librarian - Mr. D Newton
  • Maths - Miss K. Wilson
  • Director of Music - Mr S. Emery
  • Philosophy - Mrs Forster
  • Physical Education - Mr J. Dowling
  • Physics - Dr P. Wilde
  • Politics - Mr N. Croxton
  • Psychology - Miss A. Murphy
  • Religious Studies - Mrs H. McDonnell
  • General Studies - Mr S. Frost

Senior Management[edit]

  • S. Shipgood - Head of Key Stage 3
  • N. Barends - Head of Key Stage 4
  • L.A. Holland - Deputy Head of Sixth Form
  • C. Mackenzie - Head of Sixth Form
  • A. Hughes - Bursar
  • S.R. Cox - Deputy Headmaster and Head of Pastoral Care
  • N. Roberts - Deputy Headmaster and Head of Teaching & Development
  • M.A. Pennington - Headmaster

Notable former pupils[edit]

Notable people associated with the school[edit]


  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. ^ "Stermont-Synge". British History Online. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "A brief history of the school". The Liverpool Blue Coat School. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  5. ^ "Bluecoat Heritage" (PDF). Bluecoat Chambers. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Pollard, Pevsner, Joseph, Richard, Nikolaus, Sharples (2006). Lancashire: Liverpool and the southwest. Retrieved 27 June 2009. 
  7. ^ "The Port of Liverpool Building". Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2009. 
  8. ^ "The Liverpool Blue Coat School General information". Schools Net. Retrieved 29 June 2009. 
  9. ^ "School magagazine article". 1985. 
  10. ^ "Clubs & Societies". The Liverpool Blue Coat School. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  11. ^ "Boarding House Rules (1969)". Liverpool Old Blues. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "Brotherly Society". The Blue Coat School. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  13. ^
  14. ^

External links[edit]