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Secondary Schools
1963 - 1998

In May David Morris was appointed Head of Lower School. In August the first G.C.E. Advanced level* results were published with one student gaining A, B and C in Physics and Pure and Applied Mathematics.

In September 1970 the school opened with 950 pupils on roll. The School produced T. S. Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral" in St. Nicholas Church. School journeys went to Germany and France.

The roll increased steadily throughout the 1970's. Building work continued and additional demountables were set up to provide standard classrooms spaces and a science laboratory. Staffing the school proved a major problem and staff shortages necessitated periods of part-time schooling. Staff who had previously encouraged students to stay for the optional 5th year were now encouraging students to embark on 2 year "A" level courses in the Sixth Form; which grew to be among the biggest in the town. Lower School building was afflicted by problems with high alumina cement and major dislocation ensued.

In 1975 Mrs. Coulthard retired and Mrs. Betty Barrett was appointed 1st Deputy. Mr. Brian Robinson joined the management team. In 1979 Mrs. Giordan replaced Mrs. Barrett as Deputy Headteacher.

In 1982 John Greener retired, to be replaced by John Cooper*. Alan Morgan joined the staff at the same time. From 1980 onwards demographic in the town caused pupil numbers to drop.

Ron Beverton retired in 1983 and Robin Lees, Senior Master became Deputy Head.

In 1985 Ken Edwards replaced Robin Lees. During this period Nicholas, in common with all other schools, suffered from long running industrial action by teacher unions over pay and conditions.

In 1988 the Education Reform Act ended the industrial action and ushered in a series of major educational changes not least the introduction of the National Curriculum. In the same year Christine Jeffries replaced Ken Edwards as Deputy Head.

During the 1980s the School was very actively involved in education - industry links and community projects with environmental and crime prevention dimensions.

In 1990 Nicholas received the Schools Curriculum Award, the first secondary in the town to be so honoured. A major drama production was staged in Lower School each year.

In 1991 Nicholas was reorganised as an 11-16 school with the comprehensives in Basildon and Wickford. In 1993 Nicholas was the first Essex School to be inspected OFSTED under the new arrangements and received a positive report.

In 1995 Essex began a consultation exercise concerning surplus secondary places in Basildon which culminated in a proposal to amalgamate Nicholas and Laindon Schools. This was excepted by the Secretary of State* in March 1997 and academic year 1997/98 has been dominated by preparations for the launch of the new school.

Title: Nicholas School 1963 - 1998
Source: Two page historical account on A4 given to each pupil during the final Summer term at Nicholas School, Laindon.
Comments: This account is reproduced in its entirety, unedited and unabridged excepting the addition of a year marker in bold where appropriate.

*Nicholas Comprehensive School heated indoor swimming pool opened on Tuesday 1st October, 1968.

*Nicholas Comprehensive School production of Lionel Bart's "Oliver" performed at the Arts Centre, Towngate, Basildon from Wednesday, July 16th to Friday July 18th, 1969.

*G.C.E. A-Level - General Certificate of Education Advanced Level.

*John Cooper from the time of his appointment as Headteacher in 1982 remained in charge through to closure in July 1998.

*Gillian Shepherd MP, Secretary of State for Education and Employment 05/07/1995 - 02/05/1997.

*The schools' house system celebrated the poet, playwright and actor William Shakespeare (b. c.1564 - 23/04/1616); English composer Sir Edward William Elgar (02/06/1857 - 23/02/1934); Scottish biologist, pharmacologist and botanist Sir Alexander Fleming (06/08/1881 – 11/03/1955) and English architect Sir Christopher Michael Wren (20/10/1632 – 25/02/1723).

In the 1970s the house names were replaced to include Glastonbury and Westmorland.

Page added: 05/11/2012
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