|Portrayed by||Neil Pearson|
|First Appearance||Series 10 Episode 1 (Home Sweet Home)|
|Last Appearance||Series 10 Episode 20 (A Fairytale Ending)|
|Cause/Reason||End of the programme|
|Sons||Leo Fitzgerald |
|Series 10 Episode 1 - Series 10 Episode 20|
|Deputy||Simon Lowsley (S10E1-S10E9) |
Christine Mulgrew (acting) (S10E10)
Lorna Hutchinson (S10E11-S10E20)
|Preceded by||Simon Lowsley (acting)|
|Succeeded by||End of the programme|
Vaughan Fitzgerald's first day as Headteacher of Waterloo Road kicked off to a bad start with the unexpected arrival of wife Olga and sons Justin and Leo, and the unexpected death of Darren Hughes' mother.
Vaughan is the seventh and final Headteacher of Waterloo Road in the series.
Vaughan was a very optimistic and outgoing man. He was often good-natured and peaceful, eager to help others - in particular his own family. But, after the reunion with his wife and two other sons, the balance of his world is upturned dramatically. He is faced with the blame from his wife, Olga, for abandoning her, and the vengeance of his wrathful son, Justin. It is clear that Vaughan is riddled with guilt for abandoning them but he is also oblivious to the effect it had. This is clear when he originally ignored Justin’s violent behaviour, claiming that he would never act that way. He can come across as arrogant and opinionated, and seems to frequently take the opportunity to make himself look important, but he actually seems to care about other people, almost dominantly so. He does have a dark side, which is shown when he threatens his own son so that he would stop abusing his stepmother, and later personally dragging him to a police station when an altercation happens between the two of them - he does show himself to be slightly impulsive here, as he didn't take time to get both sides of the story. Ultimately he is caring as he eventually puts his children first as he chooses them over his relationship with Allie. Overall Vaughan is surprisingly calculating and manages to deduce that the man that Lisa and Shaznay tried to rob was in fact a conman. Vaughan proved himself a good man by desiring to give all pupils of Waterloo Road a chance, even if they'd proven troublesome in the past.
Series 10 Autumn Term
Vaughan is appointed Headteacher after the downfall of Christine Mulgrew. He arrives at the school with partner and Head of Art Allie Westbrook and her two children Floyd and Tiffany. George Windsor takes an instant dislike to Vaughan's revolutionary style and the two are constantly bickering. On his first day, Vaughan introduces himself to Kevin Chalk who suffered a stroke the term before. During his first staff briefing, Vaughan's wife Olga Fitzgerald arrives with their two children Justin and Leo. Olga is being transferred to a mental health unit after suffering a breakdown, presumably caused by Vaughan's affair with Allie. Olga leaves Justin and Leo with their father. While Leo cooperates and starts immediately after the school, Justin refuses, eventually picking a fight with Floyd leading Vaughan to attempt to find him a new school. Justin later agrees to remain at Waterloo Road. During his first day, Darren Hughes' mother is found dead by Christine Mulgrew, Darren runs off, believing a man his mother was sleeping with killed her. Vaughan is soon out of his depth and Christine unofficially mentors him. After the events of the day Vaughan decides the school needs to be closer to the community it serves.
In episode two Vaughan sets up the new Community Cafe for the public, and puts forward George for a job at Havelock. This later leads to George resigning after Justin threw a tin at his head, and Vaughan did not believe him. Vaughan also has to deal with a conman who tries to blackmail him into stealing money from the school accounts. Vaughan clashes with his deputy Simon Lowsley as he suggests mediating between Justin and Floyd. Before he leaves, George warns Vaughan and Allie Justin is out of control.
Episode three sees Vaughan support Allie in her baby scheme, when Justin destroys one of the virtual babies Vaughan learns of Justin's domestic abuse of Allie. Later on, Carol Barry stages a fall in the Home Economics room, claiming compensation from the school; however Vaughan catches her out when he declares her cast is "on the wrong leg". He then fires Carol.
Gabriella Wark returns in episode four, Vaughan tries to make it a new start for her, but the pupils are not as forgiving. on the same day, as Vaughan prepares to take the boys to visit Olga, Allie finds out he has been paying for her treatment at the clinic. At the clinic, Olga kisses Vaughan goodbye, leading Justin to think they will somehow be reunited however, Vaughan crushes these hopes when he tells him he does not love Olga anymore. Justin and Tiffany also embark on a secret relationship this episode.
Vaughan and Christine clash over her private tutoring of Lenny Brown after he suffers a panic attack. Vaughan refuses to let the pupils have their target grades, leading to Kevin Chalk hacking the school network to get them and later causes a boycott of the exams.
During episode 6, Sonya asks Vaughan to help her enter a writing competition, Vaughn kindly gives this to Simon Lowsley to handle. On the same day, Justin has his wallet stolen by a Havelock pupil, after he bought the pupil some food. Justin confronts the boy at Havelock and Vaughan tries to punish his son. Justin attempts to set up a food bank for the wider community, initially sceptical Vaughan eventually comes round to the idea. Vaughan and Allie spend the evening with Simon, his wife Sue and Hector Reid at Simon's dinner party.
Vaughan is woken up early to open the school in the next episode after a computer in the school hacks into Wire Data, a multi-national company. Leo admits to the hack, although it was Kevin who showed him how, Leo messed up when he tried to hack it himself. When Kevin admits, the owner of Wire Data attempts to prosecute him, although Kevin sets a worm on the network, which could destroy his company, black mailing the owner. In the same episode, Vaughan finds out about Justin and Tiffany's relationship, causing Vaughan and Allie to monitor the two 24/7. Allie tries to make Vaughan throw Justin out, however Vaughan refuses, standing by his son.
In episode eight, Allie tries to get Justin sent to a boarding school in an attempt to keep him away from Tiffany, but the young lovers have plans of their own, and Justin attempts to run away to London. However when they go, Tiffany becomes scared of Justin and tells Allie where they are. Allie rescues Tiffany but abandons Justin to the dismay of Vaughan. Allie later takes Tiffany to a friend’s house.
Mandy arrives to meet Leo in episode nine; it is revealed later she is a patient at a mental institute. Mandy threatens Leo with a pair of scissors; however he is able to talk her out of it. The episode highlights how distant Vaughan is from is son because he doesn't cause any trouble. In the same episode Simon discovers Sue's affair with Hector leading to him throwing Hector on the floor and attempting to crush him with a baseball bat. Infuriated Vaughan tells him to leave, Simon has secured a Headship down in Wales.
On the last day of term (and incidentally Justin's 18th birthday) Justin punches Allie in the face, as he tries to speak to Tiffany. Upon discovering this Vaughan takes Justin down to the police station and attempts to press charges. Justin spends the day in a police cell. Again, he is torn between Allie and his children when he asks about Justin over Allie's welfare. The events climax when Justin threatens to blow up Allie's room with an air compression and lighter. Vaughan talks him out of this saying he loves him. Knowing they cannot continue in their relationship, Vaughan and Allie split up and Allie leaves with her children.
On the same day, George Windsor returns to the school to ask for his old job back and revealing that the local council have proposed a merger between Waterloo Road and Havelock High meaning the school could be potentially closed.
Series 10 Spring Term
Throughout the term, Vaughan's main objective is to save the school from the proposed merger with Havelock High. Vaughan starts with a strategy of second chance policies. He enrols Scott Fairchild, Kenzie Calhoun and Dale Jackson, pupils which no other school will have. Vaughan also employs Lorna Hutchinson as Simon Lowsley's replacement, to enforce the second chance policy. Olga, Vaughan's ex-wife, arrives at the school as an agency supply teacher. The pupils and staff eventually learn about the merger after Olga Fitzgerald messes with the tannoy system and an argument between Vaughan and Lorna is broadcast to the entire school.
In episode 12, Vaughan sets up the new Bike Bank, where people can rent bikes for free. On the same day Kevin Chalk is told at Havelock that he will no longer be taking his GPD classes there, as Waterloo Road prepares to have its first GPD Teacher. Kevin asks Vaughan if he could transfer to Havelock completely. Vaughan refuses, giving the fact that Kevin is the school's brightest pupil. Later on both Olga and Christine Mulgrew defend Kevin's suggestion saying he is "stuck down with kids a year younger than him. He's fed up, bored and getting into trouble". Kevin later finds himself in hospital after he took off after Scott Fairchild who stole Dale's bike and Kevin fell, hitting his head. Realising how unhappy Kevin is, Vaughan agrees to transfer him and apologises to Olga for his hostility, offering her a job in the Geography department.
Marco D'Olivera and Guy Braxton both arrive at Waterloo Road in episode 13 as NQT Science and GPD Teachers respectively. Vaughan mentors Guy who is taken from the fast track scheme, comprising of six weeks training. In the coming episodes, Guy struggles with the responsibility and in episode 16 he is officially a cause for concern.
The term presents more challenges for Vaughan's son Leo who develops a gaming addiction, one his father is unaware of. Leo later recieves councelling after striking Sonya when trying to steal his laptop. On more than one occasion, Olga tests Vaughan's parenting skills not trusting him to help Leo with his addiction. She later enrols Leo for councelling, to both Vaughan and Leo's disapproval, the councelling later leads to Olga blaming herself for her kids mistakes.
In episode 15, Havelock High visit the school, and the PTA have a meeting to discuss the merger. On the day where the pupils needed to show off the school, they run amock. With sexual novels read aloud on the tannoy and explosions in the science lab, Vaughan gives up hope of trying to stop the merger.
Episode 16 sees Vaughan desperatley trying to find the identity opf the CyberBully who is targeting Bonnie Kincaid, in episode 18, this turns out to be Leo Fitzgerald. However, George Windsor caught Vaughan's son Justin breaking into her locker after recieivng a message on her phone, Justin was then framed for the bullying and was almost expelled. However, thanks to Kenzie Calhoun, Vaughan later deduces that Justin would not know how to undertake such a task, and realises Leo is the culprit, it is assumed that he is later expelled.
George Windsor tips Vaughan off in episode 19 that Waterloo Road will have a surprise inspection, this goes without fault and Vaughan begins to hope that Waterloo Road will be saved, however when, later that day, Leo is revealed as the CyberBully and Sonya reveals she does not have cancer at a press conference, Vaughan gives up completely.
He then refuses to go into school for the consultation, and Kenzie Calhoun is instructed to lead it instead by Christine Mulgrew. However Vaughan later goes back to the school persuaded by Olga and tries one final time to save Waterloo Road.
When George Windsor finds out there is no money to build the new block at Havelock High, he blackmails the council into calling off the merger and Vaughan continues to lead the school.
Behind the Scenes
On 19 September 2013, it was announced that former Drop the Dead Donkey star, Pearson had been signed up to play one half of teaching duo, Vaughan Fitzgerald, alongside former Brookside star, Nicola Stephenson (Allie Westbrook). Pearson & Stephenson's first scenes were set to appear in series ten, which would air the following year. Speaking of his casting, Pearson said: "Waterloo Road has a long and successful history, an impressive list of alumni, and a highly talented and enthusiastic cast. All of which makes me very excited to be joining my new school." Executive producer, Brian Park said how "thrilled" the team were to have Pearson and Stephenson joining them. He also mentioned how big of an impact the pair would make when they arrive on-screen. Pearson revealed he was attracted to this role because of the problems that Vaughan would run into: "a new job, his relationship (with Allie), his two step-children (Allie's children, Tiffany and Floyd), new domestic responsibilities (with his children, Justin and Leo) as well as how he will "balance work and two families." It was announced on 15 October 2013 that Vaughan would be the school's new headteacher. It was revealed after a fan visited the show's set and saw a sign saying 'Headteacher: Vaughan Fitzgerald'. It was announced, on 2 April 2014, that the show would be ending at the end of the tenth series and on 22 August, the final scenes were filmed.
- Vaughan was the first headteacher of English nationality at the school since Karen Fisher, he is also the first English nationality headteacher at the Greenock campus.
- Not including Brian Vaisey or those as acting head he was the shortest serving head teacher appearing for only 20 Episodes.
- He is also the fourth male headteacher to be featured on the show alongside Brian Vaisey, Jack Rimmer and Michael Byrne. He is also the final headteacher to be featured in the show, and is most likely still the head to this day.
- Vaughan was the only male headteacher to have children who were shown on screen and who attended the school. Jack Rimmer had children but they were unseen characters.
- Vaughan had the final line in the show (not including the lines from past characters).
"Well...will I do?" (First line, Series 10 Episode 1)
"I've made some stupid decisions in my time... but I've never given up on a kid." (Series 10 Episode 11)
"At the risk of sounding like a tea towel; Keep Calm and Carry on." (Series 10 Episode 12)
"The school is finished. I am finished." (Series 10 Episode 20)
"What?!" (Incredulously exclaimed on several seperate occasions and in multiple different episodes of Series 10)
"Cue the music." (Final Line in show, Series 10 Episode 20)