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|Waterloo Road Comprehensive|
|Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England|
|Motto|| Ex Nihilo Omnia|
(All from Nothing)
|Age range||11 to 18|
|Colour(s)||Red and Gold|
In the opening of the first series, Waterloo Road became notorious for being a school “on the scrapheap.” Bad behaved students and poor teaching staff became the bane of Headteacher Brian Vaisey’s life and with the strain of the job and build up of endless stress over the years, suffered a breakdown and was instantly committed under Mental Health Act. The vacancy of Headmaster was handed over to the then Deputy Head and History Teacher, Jack Rimmer. Having realised drastic changes needed to be made in order to turn the school around, Jack welcomes new English teacher Andrew Treneman to the school and offers him the job of Deputy. Within moments of arriving, Andrew was faced with the dilemma of dealing unruly student Donte Charles, of whom he had previously witnessed violently bullying of another pupil. Both Jack and Andrew implemented a new exclusions zone within the school, The Cooler – a classroom used to confine disruptive pupils sent out of classes for various offences. Having proved a success, the Senior Management Team (also consisting of Head of Pastoral Care Kim Campbell, brought into action other new methods of improvement including a Zero Tolerance on Violence rule, implemented after Donte’s father Clarence attacked Andrew during a lesson and a new rewards system in which pupils were divided into groups known as “Houses” and awarded points in situations of good behaviour and work. The arrival of LEA inspector Heather Davenport in episode 1x06 put the hard work of the teachers and students to the test when she informed them that Waterloo Road Comprehensive, along with two other local schools in the area, was at risk of closure due to the lack of students in attendance. With the prospect of losing the school securely in mind Kim thought up a spare-of the-moment Open Day idea for parents to come in and witness first hand the transformation of the school, an idea which impressed Heather. However, when the big day arrived, Kim herself was faced with more than just the worry of the school’s future when student Lewis Seddon threatened her with Sexual Assault after an altercation earlier in the day which saw Lewis physical attack gay pupil Rory Brears. The confrontation enrages Jack who instantly expels Lewis. But when Heather informs him that the expulsion may not be a straightforward task, she offers to assist him in the Governors hearing that later followed. Lewis was handed a 15-day exclusion punishment much to the shock of Andrew and Jack, forcing Kim to resign. Not wanting to let the career of a hardworking and honest teacher go to waste, Jack devised a plan to have Lewis expelled permanently, involving the help of fellow pupils and their parents. The plan was a success and Lewis was given his marching orders. Heather, impressed by the co-operation of the school and improvement of its staff and pupils later delivered the news that Waterloo Road had passed inspection and would remain open, to the delight of all.
The Roger Aspinall AcademyEdit
With the events of the previous school year well and truly behind them, the second series and new term kicked off with the introduction of Waterloo Road’s new Sponsor Governor, local entrepreneur and former pupil himself, Roger Aspinall. Having been handed the opportunity of continuing as Headmaster in the light of recent events including the expulsion of Lewis Seddon, Jack became even more determined to move the school forward and on the first day of the new term, along with Roger unveiled the plans to turn the school into a state of the art Academy to the staff. Enthusiastic Andrew’s excitement however was not shared by all, least of all Grantly Budgen who later came to realise that he had in fact taught Roger many years ago and made his life a misery by mocking his Dyslexia in front of the class. The new proposal was also not taken too kindly by Kim, who worried that Roger’s intentions would involve more than having a stake in the school. New secretary, Davina Shackleton, recommended for the position by Roger, drunkenly informed Jack to be suspicious of the businessman when she let slip that he was not as wealthy as he had been making out to be. Worries about the finances for the new academy, Jack encouraged Davina to explain more to him about Roger’s financial situation. The revelation shocked him when it became apparent that Waterloo Road’s new Roger Aspinall Academy was to be funded under the fraudulent involvement of the porn industry. However realising a loop hole in the scam, much to Andrew’s opposed opinion, Jack promised to keep Roger’s secret on the basis his position of Head teacher become permanent. With the plans for the academy in full swing, more problems later arose when Jack, Andrew and Kim discovered in episode 2x11 that American Businessman Jerry Preston had bought out Roger’s company and planned to introduce a new teaching methods including those of Creationist Ideology, a matter which worried Kim when she witnessed Jerry’s religious agenda encouraged students including Janeece Bryant and Maxine Barlow to take an unhealthy interest. Andrew investigated Jerry’s proposals and was horrified to discover that Jerry’s company UCOS encouraged the teaching’s of some shocking beliefs. Jack was later faced with a final dilemma when Roger discovered Davina’s relationship with his student son Brett. After pressurising Jack into sacking her, he realises just how much she and Waterloo Road means to him and informs both Roger and Jerry that the deal is off. He reinstates Davina and proudly voices his decision to Roger that there will not be a Roger Aspinall Academy. As Roger leaves, Jack realises the dream of a state-of-the-art building has left with him.
The initiative to improve Waterloo Road continued well into the second series when a Healthy Eating scheme is implemented. Izzie Redpath and Tom Clarkson, only just beginning to recoup from the shocking suicide of friend Lorna Dickey discover, along with Jack that Lewis Seddon, his Aunt Gemma and cousin, (also former pupil), Jed had set up their Burger Van outside the school gates and had been selling unhealthy produce including burgers, hotdogs and sugary snacks and beverages to the students. It later became apparent that they were also enticing the students into buying Class A heroin from them as part of a lucrative money making scam. After banning pupils from using the van, Jack further enraged Jed by implying he would happily prove his strength to him without the children around. At the end of the school day, Siobhan Geary falls foul to a drug overdose. With the blame for the incident inevitably down to the Seddon’s, Siobhan’s friend Courtney was forced to come clean to Kim about the drugs racket. Armed with Courtney’s confession and a surprising reiteration from Lewis later after having been threatened by Jed, Jack and Andrew fall upon the lock up in which the drugs where being harboured. Involving the police, Gemma is later arrested. Whilst starting to come to terms with the demise of The Roger Aspinall Academy project, Jack found himself thinking over what could have been in the playground after school when he was approached by a heated Jed. On reminding him of his proposition of a fight, Jed and Jack become embroiled in a full on violent brawl. Izzie, fresh from teaching an after school Drama class and trying to get her head around her daughter Chlo’s shock announcement of her plan to marry boyfriend Donte, sees the altercation and rushes to Jack’s aid, unaware that Jed had pulled a knife from his pocket. Startling him, Jed turned and Izzie ran straight into the path of the knife. A terrified Jed ran off leaving Jack to try and help Izzie. Unable to stop the bleeding, Jack frantically shouted for help as Izzie slowly began to lose consciousness. In the opening episode of the third series, it was revealed that Izzie had not been saved, and that she had died in Jack’s arms.
Rochdale Business & Enterprise CollegeEdit
Following the resignation and exit of Jack in the third series, new Headmistress Rachel Mason wasted no time in making her mark on the school. She informed Deputy Head Eddie Lawson of her plans to bid for Business and Enterprise College Status in order for Waterloo Road to expand its curriculum to allow pupils access to more hands on subjects. Originally disliking the idea, Eddie made clear his views after Rachel seemed to have not only enforced her new regime but by appearing to have upset many members of staff including Grantly and Steph Haydock. The day continued with the Sixth Form breaking from regular timetabled lessons to participate in an Entrepreneur Day devised by Rachel to test the water for the B&E bid. Ideas included a school newspaper named The Snapper by Brett and a photography company, JanMax set up by Janeece and Maxine. Impressed by their ideas and encouragement, and following and dispute by Mika Grainger towards Brett, Eddie began to realise that Rachel’s instatement as Head teacher may not have been as bad as he first thought.
The success of Rachel’s new Business and Enterprise scheme began to echo throughout the school and wider community when local businesses came forward and offered to sponsor the school for an impending building contract. In episode 3x12, Rachel was approached by Businessman and Contractor Stuart Hordley when his bid for the contract on the school was rejected by the LEA. At first bemused by his presence, it became apparent that Stuart was not as genuine as he first came across to be and he subtly revealed to Rachel that if she did not have his offer reinstated, he would reveal her secret past as a prostitute to the school. Taken aback by his revelation and the newspaper clipping lying on her desk that would confirm his story, Rachel had no choice but to follow his instructions and contacted the LEA immediately. With Stuart’s bid back in the running, she warned him to keep away from her and the school from then on. As Stuart was about to walk away from the school, he was approached by Eddie, Matt and Jasmine with the proposition of helping conduct mock interviews, set up to help he Year 10 students write CV’s and get a feel of the world of work. Agreeing, Rachel felt uncomfortable with Stuart’s presence still evident presence. The interview proved a success for Bolton Smilie when Stuart offered him a job. Over the following weeks, Rachel followed each of Stuart’s instructions in order to contain her traumatic past from being revealed. However, when Eddie accidentally discovers the newspaper articles in Rachel’s desk uncovering her true identity, he is shocked to discover Hordley’s blackmail of her in order to win the building contract. Enraged, he threatened to resign if Rachel did not report Stuart. When it became apparent Rachel was not willing to risk losing everything she had worked for, Eddie payed Stuart a visit and gives him a brute warning to stay away from Waterloo Road and from Rachel. The true extent of Hordley’s deception was revealed later in the day when Bolton’s mother, Candice informed Eddie that he had been working long hours and a further revelation of his employment of under-age labour from other schools. Realising they had him cornered, Rachel and Eddie confronted Stuart and recorded his blackmail threat as evidence in order to have him put away. As a furious Stuart made one final cruel jibe, Eddie lashed out at him and he feeling beat, he left. Two weeks on from Stuart’s visit, Rachel felt confident that she could now move the school forward. Preparing for a Spelling Bee and Football Match with rival school, Forrest Mount, Eddie discovered Stuart’s further betrayal by sending copies of the newspaper clippings of Rachel’s past to every member of staff. Quickly disposing of them, Steph also informed him of the news that Hordley’s business had gone bust. On winning the Spelling Bee, Rachel thanked the school for making her feel welcome throughout her first year. But no sooner had she started, she was interrupted by a downtrodden Stuart who ultimately followed up on his threat. Traumatized by the truth being revealed, Rachel informed Eddie she was resigning at the end of the day.
After being ejected from the school, Hordley proceeded to hang around. Whilst booking a flight outside the school kitchens he inadvertently threw a burning cigarette butt into a pile of rubbish positioned next to a group of gas canisters. Earlier in the day, Candice had accidentally disconnected a generator fan from one of the canisters in the canteen and as the area became immersed with gas, and as Rachel and Stuart clashed again in the corridor, the burning pile of rubbish triggered a huge explosion, sending a fireball ripping through the canteen. Chlo Grainger became trapped in the girls toilets adjoined to a corridor where Bolton Smile and Davina Shackleton had witnessed the full force of the explosion and also found themselves trapped. Realising she was in trouble, Chlo contacted Donte and asked him to help her. Together with Tom, he successfully managed to rescue her. But Tom’s happiness soon took a drastic turn when he discovered Davina was also trapped in the fire. When Bolton manages to free them from the building, barley conscious, Davina was rushed to hospital with suspected Smoke inhalation. As Rachel walked the corridors to make sure everyone was out safely, she came across Stuart lying helpless on the floor. But on trying to rescue him, the ceiling collapsed onto her, trapping them both. The teachers and students watches on in horror as fire-fighters battle to save what is left of the school.
The first episode of the fourth series revealed that both Davina Rachel had survived the fire. Stuart’s fate was not revealed.
At the beginning of the fourth series, having recovered enough to return to Waterloo Road following the fire, Rachel announced her intentions, that this year, they would be opening the school to everyone, including parents. Interviews for the position of Head of Extended Services took place under the conduct of Rachel and Eddie. But with the outlook of looking grim with unpromising candidates Grantly and Steph in the running, the arrival of bubbly Melissa Ryan came as a breath of fresh air, especially for Rachel. Convincing Eddie that she would be the best person for the job, Rachel seemed happier knowing that the position had been filled by the optimistic blonde. But Rachel’s true reasons for awarding Melissa the job were blown into fruition when it transpired that Melissa was in fact Rachel’s younger sister and she had given her the job over the other candidates so that Melissa could be around to look out for her following recent events. The first Extended Services session became a battle ground when Candice and Rose Kelly turned on each other, starting a fight. Melissa’s son Phillip had not created such a good impression on his first day. Tormented by Bolton and Paul Langley, they tied him to the toilets. On being discovered by Matt, Phillip accidentally let slip to him of his and his mothers family connection with Rachel. The news quickly spread, with Steph informing Eddie who instantly confronted Rachel, and asked her why she lied about Melissa’s identity. After a rocky start, Melissa with the help of a repentant Rose began spreading the word of the ES programme to the wider community. To the surprise of Eddie and Rachel, the day turned out to be a big success.
Waterloo Road ChoirEdit
During the fourth series, Matt became determined to put together a school Choir in order to compete in the upcoming North West Schools Choir of the Year Competition. With no one showing any amount of interest, Sambuca Kelly and Lauren Fletcher decided to threaten and blackmail other students into attending choir practise. When Matt discovered the reason behind the mass turn out had been down to Sam and Lauren’s scheming, he abandoned the plan, leaving Sam feeling guilty. However, Matt later changed his mind when he saw Sam had managed to convince her brother Denzil and other pupils Karla Bentham, Aleesha Dillon and Danielle Harker to take part. With her enthusiasm taking hold, he agreed to coach them. As the big day arrived, it transpired that Flick Mellor had cheated whilst writing the song Matt had entrusted her to do, and had actually stolen the lyrics from poet Bill Willis, an act Janeece had encouraged on seeing Flick struggling with the task. Disappointed, Rachel is on the brink of pulling the school from the competition as to avoid corrupting the schools reputation. However, Steph encouraged Matt and the choir to go ahead with their entry, as long as they could come up with a set of different lyrics. Together, with their various inputs they managed to produce a moving song that reflected how they felt about each other, making particular comparisons with school and family. Overcoming the obstacle of having to learn the new song in a short space of time by writing the lyrics on the back of each others shirts, they went on to perform and win the competition, to the delight of all Waterloo Road associates watching with delight.
Following an ongoing battle to prevent his daughter Flick from engaging in a relationship with Marley Kelly, former Detective Inspector Ralph Mellor became hell bent on revenge towards Rachel for ever allowing Marley and his dysfunctional family to settle at Waterloo Road. Drunk, alone and having lost everything including his job and his daughter, he climbed into a Digger he spotted at a near by building site, and heads straight for the school. Alerting Rachel by sending her a picture message to prove his intentions, she quickly left the Choir Competition and rushed to the school. On arrival, Ralph had already demolished the main entrance, to the horror or Eddie, Melissa and Phillip who stood nearby unable to act. However, when Rachel steps in front of the digger and proclaims to him that enough is enough, Ralph becomes distracted, giving Eddie a chance to overpower him and take the keys from the digger. As Ralph is led away by the police, the teachers and students returned victorious from the School Choir competition to be greeted by the demolished remains of the school. An upsetting sight, Rachel rally’s support from them and declares that it is not the building that makes Waterloo Road the great school it is, it is the teachers, the pupils and the head. Together, they began cheering and chanting “Waterloo Road.”
Following the events of the Series four finale, the fifth series will see a merge between the newly rebuilt Waterloo Road and local 'posh' school, John Foster, causing new problems and issues amongst the teachers and pupils, including girl gangs. Rachel’s leadership will also be put to the test with the arrival of new Executive Head Teacher, Max Tyler.
|Art||Kim Campbell||Teacher and Head of Pastoral Care||2006–07, 2009–|
|Drama & Music||-||-||-|
|English|| Grantly Budgen |
| Head of Department |
Deputy Head of Department
| 2006– |
|French||Steph Haydock||Head of Department||2006–|
|Other|| Candice Smilie |
| Joint Head Dinnerlady |
Joint Head Dinnerlady
| 2007– |
|Drama & Music|| Izzie Redpath |
| Head of Drama |
Head of Drama & Music
| 2006–07 |
|English|| Lorna Dickey |
| Teacher |
| 2006–07 |
|Extended Services||Melissa Ryan||Head of Department||2009|
|PE||Rob Cleaver||Head of Department||2009|
|Year 7||Denzil Kelly||2009–|
|Year 9|| Lauren Fletcher |
| 2009– |
|Year 11|| Karla Bentham |
| 2007– |
|Sixth Form||Flick Mellor||2009-|
- ↑ All change at Waterloo Road as it returns to BBC One for another term, BBC Press Office, http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2009/03_march/16/waterloo.shtml
- ↑ "It's back to school for Tom". The Sun. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/strictly_come_dancing/article2420154.ece.
- Waterloo Road Official Site