1990 saw the opening of the Nursery and Reception classes in the newly developed section of the Buxton property. The first class included the one and only girl! Sub A and Sub B moved into spacious new quarters and the junior primary now had its own hall and a staff room. A few years later an aftercare centre was established, which was a bonus to working parents.
Roly Cooke split the Form IV class into three groups, as had happened to Form V a few years previously. Now the top two years had smaller classes and specialist teaching, factors which contributed to the increasing number of scholarships being gained.
In 1995, academic colours were introduced for boys in Form V, and later extended to Form IV boys who had achieved an aggregate of 80% or more in four consecutive mark orders.
With an increasing demand for places at the school, Cooke took the bold decision to expand to a three form entry which would be phased in from 1996. A house off campus for the head would be bought, and the existing house converted into an admin block and classrooms. A new building to house the Form Vs would be built out into the swimming pool playground. Such was the general enthusiasm for this expansion that new staff were applying even before posts were advertised.
Although Cooke had driven these plans, he was not to see their fulfilment, as he left the school for personal reasons in March 1997. Deputy David Mallett stepped into the breach, asking Pauline Pearce to take over the deputy’s role. At the end of the year he appointed two more deputies, Mike Rees for administration and Jenny Leatt as head of the junior primary. The school numbers were growing and Mallett was an energetic leader, driving ongoing staff development programmes to ensure the best possible educational practices.
Among the successful innovations that Mallett introduced was mentoring, using the house staff, a council of prefects and the ‘buddy’ system, whereby a Grade 7 boy would look after a Grade 3 when he first came to “big school”. Always keen to recognise excellence, he set up the criteria for cultural colours. Now boys could be awarded academic, sport and cultural colours, and a good many gained the ‘triple crown’. An achievement tie was presented for an outstanding performance or contribution in any sphere of school life.
The expansion of the school was not without its problems, with pressure on sports facilities and recreational space. Two major rival schools, Reddam and the International School, opened their doors and a slow but steady trickle of boys, especially the newcomers, began to withdraw. There were too few pupils to fill the new classes and with reserves depleted by the building programme, a serious financial crisis was looming at the beginning of 2001.