“It’s very well-behaved, this place…
“I thought there would be happy slapping hoodies. Happy slapping hoodies with ASBOs. Happy slapping hoodies with ASBOs and ringtones. Yeah? Yeah?
“Oh yeah! Don’t tell me I don’t fit in.”
Coal Hill School
Top of our list is a location hardwired into the DNA of Doctor Who.
The Doctor’s granddaughter Susan was a pupil at Coal Hill and in the very first episode her unearthly nature came to the attention of teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. Their curiosity piqued, they followed her home to a local junkyard and to a fateful first encounter with the Doctor.
In the show’s 25th year, Coal Hill was the focus for an Imperial Dalek incursion set just months after the events of ‘An Unearthly Child’. ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ saw a transmat installed in the basement and a Dalek shuttle land forces in the playground. Even the ill-fated headmaster became a Dalek puppet.
Jumping to the present day and Clara Oswald teaches English (and the occasional Taekwondo) at Coal Hill with her new beau Danny Pink taking Maths. In addition, the school has taken on a rather eccentric temporary Scottish caretaker.
Whether Chairman of the Board of Governors “I. Chesterton”, as glimpsed in ‘The Day of the Doctor’ knows about any of this, or indeed of Clara’s connection to the Doctor is another matter… but we would love to think so.
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Brendon Public School
A private education with no questions asked was on offer at Brendon in ‘Mawdryn Undead’, even if you were an alien political prisoner like the Fifth Doctor’s shady companion Turlough.
On the teaching staff he encountered an old friend of the Doctor, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart – newly retired from defending the Earth with UNIT.
Keeping the grey cells active, the old soldier had apparently taken to teaching mathematics.
Despite the dates mentioned in the story, it is best to avoid becoming too bogged down about when the Brig actually taught there though.
Farringham School for Boys
With the aid of a chameleon arch, the Tenth Doctor disguised himself as the human John Smith in ‘Human Nature’ and ‘The Family of Blood’. Taking up a teaching position at Farringham School just before WWI, poor Martha was left having to assume the role of maid to keep tabs on him.
Despite his best efforts, and with the added complication of human emotions, he failed to remain hidden from the Family of Blood who sought his Time Lord energy for themselves.
With the school coming under attack from militant scarecrows and the students ordered to take up arms to defend it, it is fair to say things got a bit messy.
Deffry Vale School
When Sarah Jane Smith came looking for signs of alien activity behind the scenes at Deffry Vale in ‘School Reunion’, she encountered the Tenth Doctor working undercover as a science teacher and Rose Tyler in the cafeteria.
Her instincts were not wrong though, as the Krillitane were souping up the young minds at the school in order to crack the “Skasis Paradigm”, potentially granting them mastery over time and space.
There is probably nothing sinister about Deffry Vale now, since the explosion – but you’d best avoid the chips just in case.
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