historyofwoodham

Woodham Comprehensive School was formally opened by the Rt. Hon. Alice Bacon (CBE) on Monday 29th June 1970. Occupied by staff and pupils transferred from Marlowe Secondary School it was described as “a well-sited and interestingly designed building surrounded by spacious fields and enclosing pleasant courtyards and walkways”. By September the school was occupied by 600 pupils and 30 staff.

The school’s Headteacher, Mr. John Pearson (OBE) retired in 1980 and he was replaced by Mrs. Katherine Carr, Co. Durham’s first female head of an 11-18 school. Mrs. Carr remained in post for 10 years.

On the night of 4th July 1990 the school fell victim to arsonists and more than 50 firemen and 8 engines battled to contain flames which raged for several hours. Almost a third of the teaching area was destroyed and damage from the blaze was estimated at 1 million.

Falling rolls within the town caused the closure of The Avenue Comprehensive in 1992 and staff and pupils amalgamated with Woodham. Reconstruction of the site following the fire was completed and the official re-opening of the reinstated building took place on the 12th December 1992.

In 1993 the school was designated as a Resource Base for pupils with physical and/or learning difficulties. As a result additional staff were brought in to increase the Special Educational Needs department. The following year Mr. Andrew Bennett, the then Head, left and the post was filled by Mr. Steven Harness. This was when the pastoral organisation of the school was changed and the school moved away from a House to a Year system.

Special school status was gained in 1999 and on Tuesday 11th July 2000 Kate Adie, the then BBC Chief News Correspondent, officially opened Woodham Community Technology College. In the summer of 2004 the Government gave the go-ahead for the College to train up to 30 new teachers every year in applied subjects. The first cohort of trainees started their training in September 2005.

Mr Harness retired in August 2010 and Mrs Christine Forsyth was appointed as headteacher. Following sustained improvement in results, Woodham Community Technology College was able to convert to an Academy as ‘a school performing well’. Woodham Academy opened on 1st September 2012.

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