History of the School
The history of our school dates back to 1641 when it was established as a charitable foundation by Margaret Barkham the wife of a local churchman, Ezekial, respecting the legacy wish of her late husband to provide an education for children of St Cuthbert’s Parish in Wells.
The Blue School has always been for the children of Wells and its local communities
It is understood that our name was derived some time after foundation as a result of the blue dyed uniforms that were eventually provided for pupils at that time. Numbers were few to begin with and all male, but thankfully this changed in the 20th Century to gradually become the larger, co-educational provision seen today.
Our students are encouraged to take pride in the school's history, which is celebrated annually by each Year 7 in a Founder's Day Service at St Cuthbert’s Church, the parish and civic church of the City of Wells, our school’s church. The aim of this simple service is to place our students into a community that goes a long way back and which will continue on after they have left the school. The service aims to make explicit the value of belonging to our community, treating all with empathy, respect and politeness.
The school has been located in various buildings around Wells over the last 380 years. But in the 1950s a new “state of the art” purpose built Blue School (Kennion) was erected to the north of the City at the foot of the Mendip Hills. In the late 1960s, a new Milton School was built adjacent to The Blue School with only the West Mendip Way to provide separation. Some of our local community still remember their “meetings with the other side” on this path at the end of the school day.
In the early 1970s when the Government raised the school leaving age to 16, it was decided to merge both schools into one secondary, comprehensive provision for Wells to be called The Blue School. The campus today of 35 acres reflects the 1950’s “Kennion” building (named after Bishop of Bath and Wells George Kennion 1845-1922) and the 1960’s Milton School. Middle blocks were erected as part of this “bringing together” of the two school buildings and were subsequently named after the long-standing Headteacher of the 1980s, Ken Bailey and the two Hanwell brothers, who taught for many years at the school up to the early 1990s.
In the 1990’s Wells Road Bypass was built by Somerset County Council, slicing off the southern part of the school’s playing field but providing some money to build Wells Blue Sports Centre on the school's site, opening in 1999. It was not until the turn of the millenium that work was able to start in earnest on modelling of the use of the buildings on-site into one campus. This was helped significantly in 2007, when a new Science extension was erected to the Kennion building, expanding much needed specialist facilities.
Reflecting an historic oversight, in 2012, a new four classroom teaching block, was named after The Blue School’s founders - Margaret and Ezekial Barkham. Taking pride of place in the centre of the campus, the Barkham building contains brickwork found on both Milton and Kennion, physically representing the campus being brought together as one school.
In 2022, the Wells Blue School, our foundation charity, with help from the PTA and other benefactors, supported the installation of a new outdoor social area for our students. This reflected the lessons learnt from the pandemic, with students encouraged to be outside as much as possible in the fresh air. The Bailey Terrace provides a superb seating area for students with views across our playing fields to Wells Cathedral, St Cuthbert's Church and Glastonbury Tor beyond.
After over 350 years of educating the children of Wells and surrounding areas, the future appears to be secure, The Blue continuing to thrive as one of the largest, state maintained, all inclusive 11-18 year schools in Somerset.