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The Halley Academy is a secondary school and sixth form with academy status located on Corelli Road and near the Kidbrooke area of the Royal Borough of Greenwich in southeast London. It originally opened as Kidbrooke School in 1954 as an all-girls school and was one of Britain's first purpose-built comprehensive schools. It started admitting boys in 1982. It changed its name to Corelli College in September 2011 when it became an Academy. It adopted its current name (after Edmond Halley) in March 2018, when it joined the Leigh Academies Trust.

The Halley Academy
Corelli Academy map.png
Corelli Road
Shooters Hill Road


Coordinates51°28′10″N 0°02′37″E / 51.46947°N 0.04353°E / 51.46947; 0.04353Coordinates: 51°28′10″N 0°02′37″E / 51.46947°N 0.04353°E / 51.46947; 0.04353
MottoLearning together, enjoying success
  • 1954 (as Kidbrooke School)
  • September 2011 (as Corelli College)
  • March 2018 (as The Halley Academy)
Local authorityGreenwich
TrustLeigh Academies Trust (LAT)
Department for Education URN145315 Tables
PrincipalJohn Dixon
Age11 to 19
  • Democracy
  • Equality
  • Independence
  • Solidarity
  • Trust
  • Sixth Form
Colour(s)Purple and Black



Kidbrooke SchoolEdit

The buildings were planned in 1949 and subsequently redesigned (by architect Charles Pike) in 1951 to meet spending cuts. It was built on the eastern part of the site of a former RAF glider school, situated on land adjacent to RAF Kidbrooke,[1] by London County Council for "the children of the heroes of the second world war", with the school colours based on the blue and grey uniform of the Royal Air Force.[2] Originally a girls school, it opened as Kidbrooke School in 1954 (and was officially opened on 15 June 1955 by Countess Mountbatten of Burma) as one of the first purpose-built comprehensive schools in Britain.[2]

The founding Headteacher for 19 years, Dame Mary Green "was so proud of the fact that the local people called her pupils 'Smarties', thinking it was a reflection on their intelligence. In fact, the youngsters knew the nickname came from the different-coloured berets they had to wear outside school - a different colour for each of the eight houses. She was determined to ensure that all the pupils in her charge fulfilled their potential."[2]

Kidbrooke started admitting boys after 1982 as the school began competing with other comprehensives in the area.[2]

Specialist arts collegeEdit

From September 2005, the school was re-designated as a single specialist arts college specialising in media, drama and art.

Corelli CollegeEdit

Though the specialist colleges programme ended, and the school converted to academy status in September 2011 and was renamed Corelli College,[3] it continued to maintain a specialism in the arts. The school adopted the Co-operative Academies governance model which is supported by the Schools Co-operative Society.[4]

The Halley AcademyEdit

From the summer of 2016, Leigh Academies Trust (LAT) provided staff and support to Corelli College. On 16 December 2017, it was announced that Corelli College was adopting a new name and school branding including new school uniform,[5] and it became The Halley Academy in March 2018. In April 2019, staff at the school went on strike in protest at redundancies among support staff.[6]


Designed by Slater, Uren and Pike, Kidbrooke School was LCC's first comprehensive school. The building was limited to three storeys and circulation space between classrooms was restricted to reduce cost. The central assembly hall had a standing capacity of 2000 so the whole school could gather for morning prayers - a requirement of the 1944 Education Act. It had a domed ceiling to optimise the acoustics. The domestic science section was seen as an important section in a 1954 girls school: the department had all of the model appliances the girls would encounter when they ran their own homes. There were fully furnished mock ‘flats’ where homemaking skills could be practised.[7][8]


In 2015, the school opened a new sports facility consisting of a sports hall, changing rooms, toilets, a dance studio, IT room, gym and a lift for wheelchair and buggy users. An arts complex was featured in the concept design of the sports facility, but was not built due to lack of budget.[citation needed]

In 2017, Corelli College painted all its interior walls white and replaced old windows with double glazing. The school also refurbished five science labs at a cost of £500,000.[citation needed]


Jamie's School DinnersEdit

In 2005, Kidbrooke School was the focus of TV chef Jamie Oliver's campaign to improve school dinners in Britain as part of his TV series Jamie's School Dinners. Nora Sands, the head cook, had success with her book Nora's Dinners (published in 2006)[9] and left the school on 24 May 2007.[10]

Attack on studentEdit

On 24 January 1997 students from nearby Thomas Tallis School attacked one of the school's pupils, CJ Rickard, aged 14. Six attackers were jailed for a total of 20 years, while Nathan Brown was convicted of murder, having hacked Rickard with a 17-inch machete.[11]

Notable staffEdit

  • Dame Mary (Molly) Green, first headteacher, from 1954 to 1973[8]
  • Isobel Shepherdson, second headteacher, from 1973 to 1983[8]
  • Molly Hattersley, educational policy maker[12]
  • Nora Sands, dinner lady and author associated with Jamie Oliver[10]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ "History". Kidbrooke Park Allotment Association. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Smithers, Rebecca (2005), "Gold Standard". The Guardian, 12 July 2005. Retrieved: 18 October 2015.
  3. ^ Corelli College: Inspection report, 2012 - Archived here. Retrieved: 18 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Co-operative Academies and Multi Academy Trusts - Schools Co-operative Society". Schools Co-operative Society. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  5. ^ "RE: Update on sponsorship of Corelli College by Leigh Academies Trust" (PDF). Corelli College. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  6. ^ Twomey, James (14 April 2019). "Support staff at Halley Academy in Greenwich strike over school staff cuts". South London Press. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  7. ^ Cornelius, Catriona (2015). "Photograph of Kidbrooke Comprehensive School, London, 1954". RIBA. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Smithers, Rebecca (12 July 2005). "Gold standard". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  9. ^ Middleton, Christopher (8 April 2006). "Monsterella pizza the order of the day for TV's unlikeliest superchef". Telegraph. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Jamie's top dinner lady to quit". BBC News. BBC. 3 April 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  11. ^ - CJ's Murderer to Appeal Against Sentence, New Shopper, 20 June 1998. Retrieved: 18 October 2015.
  12. ^ Smithers, Rebecca (12 July 2005). "Gold standard". the Guardian. Retrieved 21 January 2018.

External linksEdit