Nottingham Bluecoat Academy

Bluecoat Academy
Motto Believe in yourself, in others, in God
Established 1706
Type Academy
Religion Church of England
Headteacher Mrs Sian Hampton
Founder Timothy Fenton
Location Aspley Lane
Coordinates: 52°58′08″N 1°11′35″W / 52.96891°N 1.19292°W / 52.96891; -1.19292
Local authority Nottingham
DfE URN 137798 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1585
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses Braithwaite

Bluecoat Academy is a Church of England voluntary aided secondary school in the Aspley area of Nottingham, England, dating back to 1706.[1] In 2007, the school had 1550 students aged six to eighteen, including 250 Sixth form students.[2] Prior to receiving Academy status in January 2012, the school was titled The Nottingham Bluecoat School and Technology College.[3]

Since 2004, the school has had two campuses, one in Aspley and one in Wollaton, and, since 2014, has sponsored the Bluecoat Beechdale Academy.


The school was founded in 1706 as the first charity school in Nottingham, under the guidance of the then rector of St. Peter's Church, Timothy Fenton. Classes were taught in the porch of St. Mary's Church in the Lace Market area of Nottingham. On 1 May 1707, the school moved to St. Mary's Gate.

In 1723, land that was given by William Thorpe on High Pavement in Weekday Cross was used and the school migrated there,[4] remaining there for over a century.

In 1855, the school moved to a purpose-built building on Mansfield Road in Nottingham.[5] The building is now the International Community Centre. A statue of a child in a latter-day Bluecoat uniform remains on the outside of the building. A road behind this site of the school is called Bluecoat Close.

In the period between the two World Wars, the school became a Grammar School. During the 1960s fund-raising was undertaken to acquire new property and to construct a purpose-built new school to allow for expansion including on-site sports fields. In 1967, the school relocated to the current premises on Aspley Lane in Aspley, two miles to the east of Nottingham. This allowed the school to increase the intake from one class to two classes (from 30 students to 60) resulting in the number of the pupils increasing to around 350 over a period of about five years. At the same time, the school assumed voluntary aided school status.

By 1978 the number of students had grown to 900 with the new status as a comprehensive school catering for eleven- to eighteen-year-olds. Two decades later, a further status change took place with the school being awarded Technology College status by the Department for Education and Skills enabling the school to receive additional funding for development Science, Mathematics and Information Technology education.

In 2003, Bluecoat was "twinned" with,[6] and then later took over the site of Margaret Glen-Bott School in the nearby Wollaton area. The site was renamed as The Nottingham Bluecoat School and Technology College: Wollaton Park Campus with the main Bluecoat site becoming the Aspley Lane Campus.[7] The two sites began to operate as a single school and share some administration resources including a single headteacher and principal for the two sites.


In September 2013, expansion projects totalling approximately £14 million started on the Wollaton Park Campus. The expansion has since completed. The Aspley Campus was also due for expansion, but was not undertaken, due to a lack of funds.

Aspley Lane

The Aspley Lane Campus gained a new building in 2006, as part of an extensive redevelopment project. The total cost of construction was £20 million, including £3 million being raised and contributed from the school's Tercentenary Appeal. The new building, also known as the Alfred Harrison Building, contains specialised drama, music and art studios. The building also included a new chapel area and a prayer room in the centre. Surrounded by these were new classrooms, dedicated to IT, music, social sciences, modern foreign languages and design technology. After construction was completed and owing to unexpected costs, the school was approximately £2.5 million in debt. This shortfall was intended to be resolved with a loan from Nottingham City Council. The George Harrison site also accommodates extensive special needs resources, including an entire department dedicated to special needs students. This department is called Student Services.

In 2012, all new (Year 7) students were to attend the Aspley Lane campus instead while building work was undertaken at the Wollaton Park Campus. Upon completion students will return to their native campus.

Wollaton Park

The Wollaton Park site, on the site of the former Margaret Glen-Bott school, recently faced extensively refurbishment in order to catch up with the Aspley Lane Campus site.

In 2009, it was announced that the Wollaton Park Campus was to be closed, and that there would only be one school - on the Aspley site.[8] Initially, all incoming students were to go to the Wollaton site, and then would move, along with the rest of the campus, to the unified campus. Due to a lack of funds, the plans were scrapped and work went underway to improve the Wollaton site instead. The students of academic year 2010-11, who all went to the Wollaton site, were effectively split in half. One half of the students were to stay at Wollaton, and the other half were to go to the Aspley site. The students had a choice in the matter, and moving to the other campus is still permitted, given there is a viable reason.

In 2012, Wollaton saw no new students - similar to what had happened in 2010, all new students were to attend the Aspley Lane campus instead while building work was undertaken at the Wollaton Park Campus. Upon completion students will return to their native campus.

Further information

The Aspley Lane campus has space for fourteen tennis courts, two hard play areas, four full size pitches and two athletics tracks. There is a full-size sports hall and gyms, and access to Wollaton and Melbourne Parks for additional pitches. There are ten computer rooms. There is a library and learning resource centre that is also linked to the careers provision. Since 1997 and 1998, there have been four new Science Laboratories built and Technology suites refurbished, and there are plenty of IT rooms too along with a stage.

In 2011, the girl band Parade visited the school and performed for a selection of special students. In 2012, Lucien Laviscount visited the Wollaton site. In 2015, Jermain Jackman visited and performed at the Aspley site to promote the National Citizen Service, or NCS, programme. To see the performance, all Wollaton and Beechdale students were escorted to the Aspley site for the afternoon.

On 1 January 2012, The Nottingham Bluecoat School received Academy status, and so it became Bluecoat Academy.[9]

In 2014, what was formerly known has Hadden Park High School was refurbished and sponsored by the Bluecoat Academies Trust to become Bluecoat Beechdale Academy. The newly formed Academy received Academy status on 1 April 2014.


The school follows the National Curriculum. In years 7 and 8, all students follow a core curriculum that covers the national Curriculum. In years 9, 10 and 11 students may choose some of the subjects they study; including modern foreign languages, humanities and technology subject choices, BTECs and Diplomas. Mathematics, English, sciences, religious education and core physical educations remain compulsory for the rest of the students' school life, whereas PSHE only remains compulsory for the first year of the students' GCSE life (Year 9).

The Sixth Form offers a wide variety of subjects at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) levels 1–3, as well as a range of established AS/A2 level courses. A wider range of vocational courses were introduced in September 2006 including BTEC qualifications. Also taught is the DiDA (Diploma in Digital Applications) qualification in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Other academic options may include GCSE resits in Maths and English.

The school participates in foreign exchanges with China, France, Italy (Cittadella) and Germany. As well as the exchanges, the post-16 faculty is expanding links into South Africa and China, having successfully linked up with Christ's Hope International in Namibia in 2005/6.


Students in the school are split up into seven different houses. Generally, each student will remain with the same house throughout his or her stay at the school: however, given a viable reason, the school can (and has) reconsider a student's house. This may also happen if a student is distracted or misbehaves in their house. Each house has its own coloured tie:

In 1993 the school expanded from a five house system to a six house system; this extra class of students was named "BC" (attached to Braithwaite), and as of the 1994 intake "MN" (attached to Mellors). The new "Inglis" house was established in 1996 combining the temporarily assigned houses with the new intake.

In 2013, a seventh house was introduced, named Harisson. Little is known about this new house, except that it is named after a benefactor of the school.

Each student also has a form group. The 'form group' of a student is simply a group of students who are in the same house and same year as each other. The form group also has a 'form tutor', who overlooks this form group. Sometimes, the form group will take part in 'Believe time', a time dedicated to activities and at the end, a short prayer.

Each year, every form group will decide on a charity, and on one Wednesday each term, will attempt to raise money for these charities with fund raisers.

In September 2010 and 2012, only one campus took in new students. In 2010, this was Wollaton Park, and in 2012, this was Aspley Lane. The school created two form groups for each house in this situation, to prevent the form groups from being too large. They were named after the house they were part of, followed by either 1 or 2. (for example, Braithwaite would consist of two form groups, Braithwaite 1 and Braithwaite 2.)

In year 7, the majority of lessons are taken with the mixed-ability form group, except English, Mathematics and Science, Languages and Design Technology which are set by ability or other factors, such as place in the register, or what language they take (randomised). The next year, all lessons either set or grouped. Grouped classes are still of mixed ability, however are not taken with the entire form group.

Clubs and societies

There are clubs and societies that run during lunch times and after the school day. Currently, there are a String Ensemble, Wind Band, Brass and Sax group, Recorder Ensemble, three choirs and various other activities. There is also a science club and a photography club. The school participates in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme.

The Wollaton Park Campus building was formally the home to Cornerstone Church,[10] a large independent evangelical church, who had their offices within the school and met at the school each Sunday. Once the BSF redevelopment began Cornerstone relocated to a new purpose built church on the site of the old MFI building on castle boulevard.

The school day

For many years the school operated on a two week timetable to better balance the time spent on minority subjects. In September 2007, the school system switched to a single-week timetable format and reformatted the timing and length of the school day. The system of six, fifty-minute lessons per day has been replaced by five, one-hour lessons—a system previously used up until the mid-1990s but now with an extra lesson allocated after normal school time. In 2015, the school day was changed again with the regular day finishing at 15:00 instead of 15:15 and lunch now finishing at 13:00. Also, Thursday enrichment now starts at 14:00 with a fourth lesson before enrichment. Year 9,10 and 11 now leave at 14:00 on Thursdays.

Food and drink are provided by the school at morning break and lunch time. Some students in Key Stage 4 spend time at both campuses for GCSE subjects. On Thursdays, there is a slight difference in the timetable, as shown below:

GCSE Results

In the academic year 2010-2011, 86% of students at the Nottingham Bluecoat School (both campuses) received A*-C GCSE results. This is the highest set of GCSE results the school has ever achieved, and means that only 14% of students got D-F.

Compulsory GCSE subjects are English, Maths, Science, and Religious Studies. Students also have to study PE and PSHE as a subject but not as a GCSE. Some people have to do ICT and one of the 4 technologies, but others do not.


The uniform for boys includes charcoal grey trousers, blue shirt, navy blue blazer and a tie matching the student's house colours. Girls' wear includes a navy skirt with, or without, black or navy unpatterned tights. Girls can also wear navy trousers. All students are expected to wear the uniform smartly at all times with ties and top buttons done up and shirts tucked in. Aspley students have only 1 stripe on their tie and Wollaton students have 2 stripes. However, in 2010 the ties were changed so each campus had 1 stripe.

Sixth Form Students at the attached sixth form college have a much more relaxed dress code. They are allowed to wear what they wish as long as it is "smart casual" and "in keeping with a professional and educational environment and the Christian values of the school". A Pupil may still have to wear uniform at times.


Awards the school has received include:

Past controversies

Resignation of head teacher and site manager in 2007

On 4 February 2008, Mr Max R Kay resigned from his position as the school's long-standing headteacher and principal,[11] following a fifteen-month-long suspension and investigation relating to a financial probe regarding publicly funded building projects;[12][13][14] and the confirmed presence of Legionnaires' disease.[15][16][17] The investigation had started after the school's former Aspley Lane site manager, Kevin Darby, had raised issues through whistle-blowing channels;[15][16][18] Darby was initially suspended, then later handed a final written warning and subsequently dismissed for allegedly speaking to the media;[12][17][19] —despite the governors clearing him of gross misconduct relating to the financial irregularities discovered.[17][18] The official school statement on Kay's resignation read:

Mr Kay has resigned from his post as Principal of Bluecoat School after 16 years service. In December 2007 the Governing Body commissioned an investigation into allegations relating to financial monitoring and control at the school. The investigatory report was fully considered by a panel of Governors and they advised the Governing Body. Mr Kay had already indicated his intention to leave the school. It was agreed that no action should be taken.[15] Mr Kay is very grateful for the support given to him by many people at the school over the years and wishes the school continued success in the future.

In December 2008 the school governors discussed the stituation and agree that agenda items related to Max Kay and Kevin Darby should be deemed as confidential.[20] At the start of the February 2009, the school stated that it was seeking to appoint a new Headteacher.[11] Mrs Sian Hampton, acting head for fifteen-month duration of the episode was formally appointed as the replacement headteacher in April 2009.[21] Mr Darby was cleared of any untoward involvement upon appeal.[21] In an extraordinary meeting of the school governors held on 18 May 2009 the situation regarding Kevin Darby was discussed, but marked confidential and the minutes were not disclosed.[22]

Notable former pupils

See also


  1. Nottingham Bluecoat School, The School's History.
  2. Nottingham Bluecoat School, Staff vacancies.
  3. Department for Education and Skills, establishment #22873.
  4. Nottinghamshire History, An Itinerary of Nottingham: High Pavement (2), Weekday Cross.
  5. Vindelis, Cathryn (2000-05-02). "Time to put the clock back!". Claves Regni: The online magazine of St. Peter's Church, Nottingham All Saints. Nottingham churches. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
  6. "Inspectors take issue with city school". Nottingham City Council.
  7. "Historic School Reorganisations". Nottingham City Council. Retrieved 2010-04-05. 01/09/04 Opening of Bluecoat Wollaton Site
  8. Greenwell, Michael (2009-06-19). "Bluecoat to close Wollaton Park campus". Nottingham Evening Post. Retrieved 2009-09-16. Bluecoat School and Technology College will instead create one school on its Aspley site. Students from the Wollaton Park campus will be moved there in 2012.
  9. Companies House Registration Details for Bluecoat Academy
  11. 1 2 "Head resigns from inquiry school". BBC News Online. 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2009-02-27. The Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham confirmed it had received Mr Kay's resignation and would ... move quickly to appoint a new head.
  12. 1 2 "Whistleblower sacked from school". BBC News Online. 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2009-02-27. Kevin Darby raised concerns about the Bluecoat School in Aspley in 2007. He was suspended in December of that year. ... An internal inquiry found evidence of fraudulent activity involving publicly-funded building contracts.
  13. "School fraud inquiry is dropped". BBC News Online. 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2009-02-27. internal inquiry at Bluecoat School in Aspley found evidence of fraudulent activity, involving publicly funded building contracts. ... the Department for Children, Schools and Families said it did not want to pursue the matter.
  14. "Head suspended after fraud claim". BBC News Online. 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2009-02-27. auditor found what he described as "fraudulent activity" involving government-funded building contracts. Police said they were considering a criminal inquiry.
  15. 1 2 3 "Bluecoat School: Head resigns". Nottingham Evening Post. 2009-02-05. The Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham confirmed yesterday that Max Kay, head teacher of Bluecoat School and Technology College, had resigned after a 15-month suspension. Mr Kay's departure follows a financial probe at the school ... Mr Darby sparked a city council investigation in October 2007 ... under whistleblowing procedures. ... a statement on Bluecoat School's website said: "Mr Kay has resigned from his post as principal of Bluecoat School after 16 years of service. In December 2007 the governing body commissioned an investigation into allegations relating to financial monitoring and control at the school. The investigatory report was fully considered by a panel of governors and they advised the governing body. As Mr Kay had indicated his intention to leave the school it was agreed that no action should be taken."
  16. 1 2 "Whistleblower forces school probe". BBC News Online. 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2009-02-06. ...being investigated over financial and safety problems. ... member of staff [made] complaints under whistle-blowing rules. The allegations have been made by Kevin Darby, the senior site manager ... the highly dangerous legionella bacteria was subsequently found.
  17. 1 2 3 "Appeal vow as school sacks site manager". Nottingham Evening Post. 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2009-02-27. The People's Resolution Group investigated four allegations in relation to Mr Darby ... disclosing evidence of the Group's investigation to the media.. requested donations to the school in a fraudulent manner.. falsifying invoices for works and failing to abide by financial procedures. ... the school's governors deemed he had fallen short of gross misconduct and he was given a final written warning. Bluecoat principal Max Kay was also investigated in relation to the three allegations relating to finances.
  18. 1 2 Greenwell, Michael (2009-02-04). "School row over sacking of site manager". Nottingham Evening Post. Retrieved 2009-02-27. Investigations were launched following allegations made by Mr Darby in 2006 and, separately, a council loan to the school of more than £2m after it went over budget ... Mr Darby had committed misconduct over the contracts, invoices and donations, but this was not enough to sack him.... the panel says it found conclusive evidence he had spoken to the media ... as a result, his contract was terminated.
  19. "Troubled school suspends teacher". Nottingham Evening Post. Retrieved 2009-02-06. Mr Darby was dismissed last month for speaking to the media about the investigation
  20. "Minutes of Governors' Meeting held at the Aspley Lane Campus of the School on Tuesday 9th December 2008 at 5:00pm" (Minutes). 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2012-01-03. GB/08/34 Update on Kevin Darby and Max Kay Situation – Confidential item. GB/08/36 Determination of Confidentiality Items: It was agreed that the items regarding Max Kay/Kevin Darby situation and the proposals for the Wollaton Park Campus Sixth Form should be deemed as confidential.
  21. 1 2 Boocock, Marcus (2009-04-10). "". Nottingham Evening Post. Retrieved 2009-05-20. Kevin Darby ... has since won an appeal against the sacking after a committee found there was no proof he talked to the press or was involved in financial irregularities. External link in |title= (help)
  22. "Minutes of the Extra Governing Body Meeting held at the Aspley Lane Campus of the School On Monday 18th May 2009 at 5-30 pm" (Minutes). 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2012-01-03. GB/08/57 Kevin Darby Situation: confidential item.
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