Churchill at 60: the first day of school

Sixty years ago this week, on 14th January 1957, the first students and members of staff started in the brand new Churchill Secondary Modern School. The school later became Churchill Community School and, more recently, Churchill Academy & Sixth Form. The 14th January 1957 is recorded by hand as the first entry in the School Log Book, which was passed to me as I took up post at Headteacher a year ago. ¬†Click on the pictures below to read the log book – the “Administrative Memorandum” is especially interesting! – and see below for a transcript of the first entry.


January 14th, 1957

The first Headmaster, Reginald J. Dennis B.Sc., took up duty to-day, together with the following members of staff.

  1. Mr J. Simmonds – Deputy Headmaster
  2. Miss G.A. Ford B.Sc.
  3. Mrs Young
  4. Mrs King – a supply teacher, filling a vacant post.

First year secondary school children, together with a few second year children, were absorbed from the following primary schools: Banwell, Winscombe, Wrington and Blagdon. They were disposed in the following classes:

  • IF – 32
  • IK – 33
  • IY – 32
  • II – 27
  • Total – 124

As the building was unfinished, it was only possible to make use of four rooms on the second floor. The back door of the building had to be used as work was still in progress at the front entrance.

The kitchens were not ready for occupation and hence school dinner was brought to the school in containers from the central kitchen at Yatton.

The Chairman of the Governors, Lt. Colonel Lee, D.S.O., visited the school this morning. He said that he had come to wish the staff and school a happy and successful life in this new building.

It sounds like an exciting time, bringing together children from the local community into a brand new secondary school in a brand new building. It’s fantastic to think that, although the world is very different now, we are continuing the work that they started sixty years ago.


To mark our Diamond Jubilee, we have created a special “Churchill at 60” page on our website. We will be updating the page with photographs from the school’s history, information about events, and memories from the sixty years that there has been a school on this site.

If you have, or if you know anybody that has, any photographs or memories from the early days of the school, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact the school on with the subject line “Churchill at 60“.

I will be including guest posts from the Log Book over the coming months as we prepare for the 60th Anniversary of the school’s official opening in September. Watch this space!

My first year at Churchill


I started at Churchill a year ago – and what a year it’s been! One of the first things I wanted to do as Headteacher was develop communication between home and school. To help with this, we relaunched the newsletter, redesigned the website, and I started this blog. Here are some of the highlights that have been captured in the Headteacher’s Blog over this first year in charge…

Taking stock and planning

I spent the first few months at Churchill looking, listening and learning around and about the Academy. In March, I gathered my thoughts in What have I learned?. This process led to the planning of the Strategic Priorities for Churchill – our blueprint for the way ahead over the coming years.


How we learn

I have published a series of posts on learning and on developing a growth mindset, including You Can Learn Anything and How to Grow Your Brain. I also showed this really interesting video to families on my meet the Headteacher evenings. It describes some really interesting findings from research into the way in which praise can change students’ attitudes to learning and achievement. Take another look:

How to revise

I’ve also used this blog to help students preparing for exams. I started with How to revise: techniques that work, and I’m now part way through a series of How to revise posts on the six most effective revision techniques from cognitive science research. So far, I’ve outlined retrieval practice, spaced practice and elaboration. Make sure you follow the blog this year for the final three posts in this series!

Performing Arts

In January, I attended the Churchill Music! Young Musician of the Year competition, prompting me to write about The Power of Music  This year’s event is just around the corner, and I’m looking forward to it very much! It was also a production year and I had the chance to review West Side Story – I’m still  in awe of the brilliant show that the students and staff put on. The year was rounded off by the fantastic Christmas Concert which inspired me to write about how much I love the Junior Choir!


The amazing West Side Story cast on the Playhouse stage


I’ve taken a few assemblies during the year! I love stitching together quite diverse examples into topics for my assemblies. For example, my assembly on Concentration featured coloured balls, an optical illusion, a cat gif and the dog from the Disney/Pixar film Up; my assembly on being Different featured metronomes, coke cans, Barack Obama and DNA. In Think Before You Speak I used a YouTuber, a tube of toothpaste, some ridiculous safety equipment and a poem by Emily Dickinson. I was relatively restrained before Christmas in discussing The 1960s as I talked about President Kennedy, the moon landings and an incredible mathematician called Katherine Johnson.




A rowing sprint competition against the GB champion wasn’t in the job description…

There has been so much to enjoy this year! From Activities Week, through Sports Day, the Year 11 and Year 13 Balls, right up to Christmas at Churchill – and it’s all still to come again this year! I even got to go to a day out at Buckingham Palace

I can honestly say I’ve looked forward to coming into work every single day of the year. It’s a privilege to work with such polite and hardworking young people and such dedicated and expert staff. Here’s to many more years – and weekly blogs! – to come.