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 role. The School produced T. S. Eliot's "Murder in the
Cathedral" in St. Nicholas Church. School journeys went to Germany and France.
The role 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 alumine 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 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.
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
Ron Beverton retired in 1983 and Robin Lees, Senior Master became Deputy Head.
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 excercise 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.