Ratcliffe College Top 09/02/22

Happy 300th Birthday Blue Coat!

Published Wednesday 9th of February 2022 03:18:41 PM

Not only is 2022 an important year because it is HRH The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the year that Birmingham will host the Commonwealth Games, but it also marks 300 years since the founding of The Blue Coat School Birmingham!

Last term the School began its tercentenary preparations with a whole school Creative Arts project which saw the building of a giant mosaic depicting a Blue Coat boy and girl walking towards St Philip’s church (now Birmingham Cathedral). The first Blue Coat Charity School was situated in the parish of St. Philip's and Chaplain, together with the House Captains dressed in the old school uniform, made a recent visit to retrace the footsteps of former pupils by returning to the original site of the School in the city centre. The House Captains located a historical blue plaque which now marks the spot where the first Blue Coat School once stood. They took the path that former pupils would have taken that led to the west door of the Cathedral. Pupils used to attend two Sunday services there each week and the Chapel Choir would have sung as part of the service, very much like in the school services today. In addition sermons were preached in Churches and Chapels across Birmingham for the benefit of The Blue Coat School, with the Chapel Choir singing in the services and collections taken in support of the School. Chaplain pointed out the memorial plaque bearing the name of Henry Price who was the Secretary of The Blue Coat School for 33 years and is interred in the Cathedral. The children were able to find reference to his term of office in copies of the old annual reports of the School Committee (the former equivalent of our Governing Board). Price is remembered each year when the Headmaster lays a wreath at his plaque on Founders’ Day.

Following their trip to the first school site, Chaplain and pupils visited Birmingham Specialist Glassmakers to see the progress of the School's Chapel window. The School Chapel which was completed in 1932, two years after the School’s move to Edgbaston was built in order to express the Christian ethos that was central to the School’s philosophy. After its completion, the Chapel was used for daily worship with parents invited to Sunday evening services. As part of a major refurbishment project a stained glass window will be installed in the Chapel's chancel window.

Much like the beautiful Edward Burne-Jones windows were added to the Cathedral and would have been a beautiful backdrop for the School's earlier services, current pupils will soon be able to gaze up at a new window as they worship. Owner Colin Brittle and designer Louise Hemmings of Ark Stained Glass, gave the children an incredible sneak preview of the Blue Coat design which will feature the 5 saints associated with BCS – St. George, St. Philip, St. Martin, St. Monica and St.Margaret, as well as a Blue Coat boy and girl, the BCS values and the Grow in Grace motto.

Back at school, the video of the House Captain's visit was shared with all pupils and staff as the 300th celebrations was officially launched. The children and staff were all presented with an anniversary pin badge by Mr Singleton, Chair of Governors.
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