Sixth Form News

Ofsted Inspection

The Blue Coat School in Oldham, part of the Cranmer Education Trust, has come through its first Ofsted inspection since 2011 with an “Outstanding” judgement.

Recent changes to government policy have seen a raft of Outstanding schools inspected for the first time in over a decade and Blue Coat is one of the few that has maintained its status.

In a report packed full of praise for pupils, staff and leaders alike, below are just a few of the stand-out statements made by inspectors:

  • Pupils and students in the sixth form flourish at this school. They are immensely proud of their school and its history. Pupils are consistently polite and respectful.
  • Leaders at all levels are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of education that they provide Teachers focus on continually developing their subject expertise.
  • Teachers are furnished with detailed information about the needs of individual pupils. They expertly adapt their delivery of the curriculum to support pupils with SEND to know and remember more.
  • Students in the sixth form strive to serve their local community, working towards the Blues Award which is given for 24 hours of voluntary service.
  • Students in the sixth form behave impeccably. They are independent and highly studious.
  • Pupils and students have positive attitudes towards their learning which are reflected in their high attendance.
  • Pupils and students are extremely well prepared for life in modern Britain.
  • Leaders, governors and trustees are aspirational for all pupils, including students in the sixth form.

Headteacher, Robert Higgins said of the outcome:

“We are obviously delighted with the outcome of the Ofsted inspection. There are so many positive aspects of the report but the part that is most pleasing is what is says about our young people; that they are happy and safe; they enjoy their learning, and they are incredibly proud of their school, its rich history and tradition.

The report also highlights the exceptional academic success that pupils and Sixth Form students at Blue Coat consistently achieve, as well the extensive opportunities they are presented with and the high levels of care and support they receive.

The inspectors also highlighted how hard our staff work for our young people, that they consistently go above and beyond every day, and also the strong support we have from parents, the Local Governing Body and The Cranmer Education Trust.

We are all incredibly proud.”

Julie Hollis, CEO of the Cranmer Education Trust (of which The Blue Coat School is part) said:

“This is a wonderful outcome for Blue Coat! The inspection was exacting, but the quality and depth of the school’s work, the commitment to equity and the investment in people shone though.

That is central to our culture and ethos as a trust, building collaboration and developing knowledgeable, skilled and dedicated professionals to achieve the very best provision for young people from 3-18 across all our schools in the Cranmer Education Trust.”

To view the Ofsted Report in full, click here:

Culture Day 2022

On Wednesday 16th of November, The Blue Coat School Sixth Form held its first ever Culture Day!

The day was a colourful celebration of the rich diversity of our community here at Blue Coat. 

We exhibited a market of cultural stalls in the gym, a fashion show of cultural dress, a photo booth, and we finished with a sixth-form football tournament. 

We were fortunate enough to have been joined by two visitors: Naseeb Abbas and Josee Bizimana, who delivered two moving talks on their stories, and the meaning of culture in their communities.

The event was a roaring success, and all participants look forward to seeing its triumphant return!

More images and videos can be found on our social media sites – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @BCOldham6thForm.

Oldham Business Awards 2022

On Friday, 7th October, our Sixth Form students were invited to help out at the Oldham Business Awards at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, an annual awards event attended by over 550 business leaders and entrepreneurs celebrating great business in Oldham.

Hosted by former Chronicle Business Editor Martyn Torr and ITV’s Caroline Whitmore, the evening was a huge success, with much needed funds being raised for two Oldham charities – Dr Kershaw’s Hospice and the Mahdlo Youth Zone.

Our students thoroughly enjoyed the event and welcomed the opportunity they were given to represent the school at such a prestigious event.

The evening was a huge success and was a chance for our students to network with local businesses including Pearsons Solicitors, Natwest Bank, Ultimate Products and many more. This helped our students explore a variety of career paths and helped them establish connections within their chosen industries.

A big thank you to Kashif Ashraf, President of Oldham Chamber of Commerce, for the invitation.

A-level Results Day 2022: Student Stories

Further to last week’s fantastic achievement by all of our Year 13s, we are so proud that 86% of our students have been successful in securing their preferred university places. This includes students going onto places at Oxbridge and to study Medicine, Veterinary Science, Pharmacy, Engineering and much much more!

We would like to share some of our student’s stories and where their studies at The Blue Coat School Sixth Form will now take them.

hannah diamond

A* – History

A – Politics

A – Religious Studies

Hannah who lives in Diggle has successfully gained a full sporting scholarship at the University of Birmingham to study combined honours in Politics and History.  When not engaging in Political debates and History lectures Hannah has captained the school netball team winning the national finals earlier this year.  Hannah is not only Blue Coat’s captain but has captained England under 19’s national team and was vice captain of the England under 21’s team who won the European championships in the Ise of Man.  Hannah also plays professionally with Manchester Thunder netball team. Hannah’s sporting scholarship at Birmingham sees her pay no tuition fees and receive elite sports and strength and conditioning coaching all for free.

daisy cursham

A* – Chemistry

A* – Mathematics

A – Music

Daisy who lives in Chadderton has successfully gained a place to read Chemistry at the prestigious Keble college Oxford. Daisy is following in family footsteps with her love of Chemistry and hoping to work in the development and discovery of new medical drug production as her grandad did before her. Daisy often referred to as the musical chemist has gained ABRSM Level 4 Violin Diploma, and is currently enjoying being a member of the Halle Youth Orchestra and attends weekly rehearsals. As the leader of the Oldham Youth Orchestra she performed at the Royal Albert Hall.

Patrick Mcguiness

A – Mathematics

A – Product Design

B – Physics

Pat of Saddleworth has successfully secured a degree apprenticeship with Daresbury Laboratory.  Daresebury  Laboratory is a scientific research laboratory based at Sci-Tech Daresbury campus near Daresbury in Halton, Cheshire, England. The Daresbury Nuclear Physics Laboratory is one of two funded by the government in the UK.  Pat has had a passion for Science and engineering all through high school from winning the Blue Coat Bake off with his gravity defying Malteser cake to being part of a young engineers programme who created an automatic sorting system for rubbish in partnership with Innovative technology.  Pat who attended a science summer camp every year has now graduated to teaching younger children on the camp and inspiring the next generation of scientists.

Saudinha Co

A* – Chemistry

A* – Mathematics

B – Art

Saudinha of central Oldham has successfully secured a place to study architecture at the University of Manchester.  Saudinha regularly volunteers with her local church and in the local community taking part in fund raising activities and making food for charity events. Working with the Young Christian Workers Association, Saudinha gave up her time to help with the production and distribution of essential food hampers to people in Oldham who were at risk of food shortage due to the pandemic. Throughout her school life Saudinha has consistently tried to give back to others whenever she can. For example, in the work she has done with less able young people, mentoring and teaching them as part of the ‘Toe to Toe’ reading and learning program. Suadinha is a keen footballer, and active in local community sport. She is also a talented singer and member of Oldham Youth Choir.

Adam Rahman

B – Sociology

Distinction – PE

Merit – Applied Science

Adam has successfully gained a place to read sport and exercise science at Manchester Metropolitan University.  Adam also has a passion for football refereeing. He took to this after reading an article that junior football matches were been cancelled due to a shortage of referees. Adam spent time earning money and saving up to pay for a referees course. Now qualified Adam spends all weekend refereeing often doing 3 to 4 games on a Saturday and a Sunday. After games he will speak with parents and coaches and try and recruit more referees. Adam has been offered to referee at a higher level on weekends but has declined the opportunity as he sees his focus as helping grass roots football. Adam also referees school games free of charge during the week.

A-level Results Day 2022

It was all smiles at Blue Coat this morning as students and their families celebrated some excellent A Level results. Over a third of all grades achieved by students at the school were awarded at A*/A.

Six students Zainab Chowdhury, Luke Clegg, Eleanor Delderfield, Luke Pennystan, Sophie Norman and Mathew Shaw all achieved A* grades in all of their subjects.

Daisy Cursham (A*, A*, A) and Luke Pennystan (A*, A*, A*) both achieved top grades to secure their places at Oxford University. Daisy will study Chemistry at Keble College and Luke will study Engineering at New College.

Headteacher Rob Higgins said “We are absolutely delighted with the results our young people have achieved this year and are hugely proud of them all. They have faced continuous disruption to their studies over the last two years and the resilience, determination and work ethic they have maintained has been incredible. They have also been well supported by their families and staff at Blue Coat and it’s been a real team effort to ensure that they have achieved the grades they have earned and deserve.

With the disruption to their learning and the changes to how examination grades have been awarded over the last three years, the most important thing this year was to support students so that they could access the next steps in their education/careers that they wanted. Over 90% of students have achieved the grades they needed to progress to the destination of their choice and we are supporting those who need some help in securing their next steps. Many of our young people will now take up places on the most competitive courses at the most prestigious Universities across the country, as well as those who have secured places on the most sought-after apprenticeships. We wish them they very best of luck for the future. “

Founders Day

On the third Wednesday in July the students, staff and governors of The Blue Coat School commemorate the generosity of our founder Thomas Henshaw, and the people of Oldham and NE Manchester, who made The Blue Coat School, a huge investment in education as the future for young people and their community, possible.

Thomas Henshaw was a hatter. He died in 1810 leaving £40,000 to endow a school for “the poor boys of the parish”, the boys who had no father and were otherwise destitute at a time of great economic hardship and misery – taxes increases to pay for war, rocketing food prices, high unemployment caused by the disruption of trade, all of which were the result of the wars against Napoleon 1803-1815. This was at a time when there was no public education at all; any schools that existed were church or charitable foundations, and there were none of these around the rapidly growing mills to which people migrated for work

 Initially his will was contested by his family, and it wasn’t until the 1820s that probate was granted. A public meeting took place in 1825 to find suitable land for the school and to launch an appeal for funds for the building. The honours boards in the entrance to the school commemorate all those donors from businesses and individuals across this part of NE Manchester, because whilst there was a growing industrial area in Oldham, the town was not incorporated as a borough until 1889, 55 years after the opening of the school. The list of donors is a roll-call of all the engineering businesses and brewers who were the main employers.

The school finally opened in 1834 for 100-150 poor boys, all of whom were fed and housed, and taught a trade and their catechism – the statement of beliefs of the Christian church, because Blue Coat was a Christian charity. 

In the same year Parliament passed the Poor Law Amendment Act which required parishes of the church to group together to establish workhouses for the poor. The aim was to deter people making demands on public funds. The union of Oldham parishes resisted the workhouse requirement under the 1834 law until 1848. The site of the workhouse is now occupied by The Royal Oldham Hospital; an independent report of 1866 details the insanitary conditions and harsh treatment meted out to those young and old who had been defeated by low pay, unemployment, high prices, sickness and bereavement. At the same time the boys who were pupils at The Blue Coat School received a basic education and a had a future.

When the Blue Coat School walks in procession to Oldham Parish Church on the third Wednesday in July we bear witness to, and publicly thank, the generosity, and sacrifices, of others, to make education, and hope, and a future possible for young people.  The tradition is that the Last Post is played on a bugle, or a cornet, both at the parish church, and back at school; it’s a part of the military signals, first used in the 1790s (in the earlier wars with revolutionary France) to mark the end of the day and all positions checked. Symbolically it’s about remembering and thanking. The school lays a wreath at the war memorial at the parish church, and in the entrance to the school, in memory of Thomas Henshaw. His “charge” – the final instruction – to pupils leaving the school, which is read to every group of Year 11s and Year 13s, and now to teachers who graduate in our trust, reminds us to remember the benefits we have received, and to uphold the name and reputation of the school and everything it stands for.


Today a group of Year 12 students were introduced to STEP maths. STEP is an additional maths exam that needs to be taken when applying for a maths based degree at selected universities.

Our students also took part in a mock university interview and gained valuable feedback from our Year 13 students, who have gone through the procedure this year. Advice was also given on the university application process by a 2nd year Durham University Student studying Maths.

Here is what some of the students had to say:

“The mock interviews were extremely useful. The questions were great to get you thinking deep into your subject and it was great to get a taster into a real uni interview, along with the tips given by the interviewers.”

“The level of maths was challenging however the warm up and preparation questions guided you into the STEP questions nicely.”

“It was great to get the Year 13 and current uni student’s perspectives and honest opinions about their own interviews and applications. It was also reassuring to hear that none of them had a perfect interview.”

Year 13 Prom

To celebrate the end of two years of A-level study in the Sixth Form, made all the more difficult by the pandemic, Year 13 staff and students headed to the Macdonald Manchester Hotel & Spa for their Prom.

Staff and students were treated to a welcome mocktail and three-course dinner followed by DJ and dancing into the early hours! A fun night was had by all, and the night was well deserved for all the hard work and dedication shown over the past two years. We will miss you!