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Secondary Schools
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NICHOLAS SCHOOL - Part One
1963 - 1998

1963
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."

On October 16th Mr. Cook, Her Majesty's Inspector, visited in order to verify that the school was officially in session.

1964
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.

In September 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 role 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.

1965
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 role at year end was 330, which rose to 446 with a new intake of 115.

1966
By Easter 1966 the role 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 role was 616. The new first year of 128 were housed in the buildings of Chowdhary School and they dined at Janet Duke School.

1967
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 role. 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.

1968
In February 1968 appointments were made to the "new" school: David Lemon appointed Head of English; Alan Aldsworth, Head of Mathematics; Trevor Hopkins, Head of Science; and Ron Beaverton, 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.

Term 1968/69
In September the school took over the Art Studio, Technical Rooms and Swimming Pool*.

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.

1969
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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Page added: 05/11/2012
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