Nicholas opened as a small secondary modern school on
Tuesday September 10th 1963. John Goodier, Headteacher, greeted 200 pupils all in Year 7 who
were organised in seven forms. He was supported by a teaching staff of nine as well as a school
assistant, a caretaker and a cook supervisor. Teachers included Frank Pardoe (Woodwork and
Practical Drawing) and Oliver Knott (English and Geography) whose brother Errol later taught
Mathematics at Nicholas.
Food and drink were key priorities: "The morning was occupied in administrative
details - registration, numbers for milk and meals, arrangements for the two sittings of the school meal."
October 16th Mr. Cook, Her Majesty's Inspector, visited in order to verify that the school
was officially in session.
In March 1964 a class of children from Markhams Chase Primary School was
allocated a room at Nicholas because of severe overcrowding at their school. The children were to be fully integrated
into Nicholas. In May Mrs. Curragh was appointed to the Deputy Headship to take effect in
September. At the end of the summer staff played school teams in both cricket and rounders.
new teaching staff included Mr. Layton, Head of Art and Crafts and Mr. Coldicott,
Head of Science.
Nicholas pupils came from Billericay as well as West Basildon; a new school for the Billericay
community, Mayflower was being constructed. It was not ready to receive pupils as originally
planned so Nicholas welcomed Mr. Bickerstaff, the Mayflower Headteacher and his staff and pupils
to share the Nicholas site until Mayflower was ready. In effect the Nicholas roll was 480 (280 Nicholas,
200 Mayflower). At Christmas 1964 the Mayflower staff and children left the site to take up
residence in the New Year at Chalvedon School in Pitsea.
In January 1965 4 classes from Markhams Chase Primary (now called Janet Duke) were accommodated
on the Nicholas site. Mr. Trollope, later School Counsellor, joined the staff at the beginning
of the Summer term. In March Mr. Bickerstaff presented a Rose Bowl to the school for its
welcoming hospitality to Mayflower students.
In June Mrs. Cresswell was appointed Deputy Head and in July Mr. Chislett was appointed as a
metalwork teacher from the County Pool. The Head of Janet Duke, Mr. Onions, presented Nicholas
with a football trophy to mark his appreciation of the two terms hospitality offered to his
four junior classes. The roll at year end was 330, which rose to 446 with a new intake of
By Easter 1966 the roll was 481. Parents, Governors and County Inspectors were involved
throughout the year in discussions about the proposed extensions to the school. Headteacher
John Goodier resigned his post at August 1966.
Mrs. E. Coulthard (formerly Mrs. Cresswell) was appointed Acting Head for September 1966 with Mr.
Standeven as Acting Deputy. Girls and boys were allowed for the first time to mix freely in the
playground. Number on roll was 616. The new first year of 128 were housed in the buildings of
Chowdhary School and they dined at Janet Duke School.
In March John E. Greener was appointed Headteacher with effect from September.
Staff from the Youth Employment Office and Thurrock College spoke to 4th year students about
the value of the extended course. School leaving age was still 15. On May 1st building
contractors began work on the new buildings.
In September 1967 John Greener took up his
Headship with 717 pupils on roll. He was to preside over significant change: the raising of the
school leaving age to 16; comprehensive reorganisation in the town; the development of the
Sixth Form; and the rise in numbers to some 1400 pupils over 12 years. The first demountable
classroom arrived on the site in October, the first of many. Staffing plans for the first
comprehensive intake in 1968 were put to the staff for consultation. Councillor Savage was
elected Chairman of the "Comprehensive" Governing Body.
In February 1968
appointments were made to the "new" school: David Lemmon appointed Head of English; Alan Aldsworth,
Head of Mathematics; Trevor Hopkins, Head of Science; and Ron Beverton, Senior Master. Building
work continued throughout; in July the School took over the Drama Studio, the Music Salon and
the Conference Room. Traditional timetabled lessons were complimented by additional activities:
ballroom dancing lessons for 5th year pupils took place in the gymnasium. Sports day was a
competition between the four houses: Fleming, Shakespeare, Elgar and Wren. At term end Mrs.
Quick and Mrs. Roffey were appointed as clerical assistants.
In September the school took over the Art Studio, Technical Rooms and Swimming Pool (see notes).
During the first comprehensive year the Nicholas School Association was formed: 55 parents
attended the A.G.M; a wealth of extra curricular activities took place: theatre and sporting
visits notably; foreign holidays were planned and a production of Oliver was staged at the
Arts Centre (see notes).
Mrs. Fry joined the clerical staff in October 1969. The
first Sixth Former to gain a place in Higher Education was offered a place at Balls Park College
of Education at Hertford, Hertfordshire.
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