Coade, Thorold Francis (1896–1963), educational innovator and headmaster of Bryanston school, Dorset, was born 3 July 1896 at Glebe House, Syndenham Terrace, Brighton Rd, Rathgar, Dublin, only son of two children of the Rev. Charles Edward Coade, methodist minister, and Jessie Wilhelme Coade (née Spencer). Educated at Glebe House School, Hunstanton, and at Harrow (1910–15), he entered the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and was on the western front with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment by 1916. Wounded at the Somme, he was transferred home and served in East Anglia for the remainder of the war.
He took a shortened English degree at Oxford, passed with distinction (1921), and returned to Harrow as an assistant master (1922), writing Latin translation simplified (1924). Interested in issues of educational philosophy, he found Harrow restrictive, but while there edited Harrow lectures on education (1930) and began residential courses for schoolmasters. In 1932 he was appointed headmaster of the four-year-old Bryanston, an innovative public school that employed the Dalton plan, based on more private study and pupil initiative. He opposed over-specialisation and provided a wide curriculum that encouraged art and theatre in particular. A less hierarchical attitude led to more informal staff–student relations and a prohibition on corporal punishment and private fagging. Ill-health forced his early retirement in 1959. He died 1 February 1963 at his Wiltshire home. He married (1922) Kathleen Eleanor, daughter of Harold Hugh Hardy, businessman; they had two daughters.