St Marie's Catholic Primary School and Nursery is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and expects all staff, volunteers and parents to share this commitment. If you have any concerns regarding a child, please contact one of our Safeguarding Leads at the school office.


St Marie's - Past to Present


1848 - Mrs Hibbert opened a school in a house in Dunchurch Road close to where the Royal Oak pub now stands.

1853 - Captain Hibbert offered to build a boys’ school on a piece of the churchyard fronting on to Dunchurch Road. The school opened in January 1854.

1855 - A school and convent was opened for the girls, parallel to the boys’ school. There were 25 pupils and the school was run by the Rosminian Sisters.

1864 - The new St Marie’s Church opened.

1880 to 1890 - The school year started on March 1st with fixed holidays – two days at Easter, one week at Whitsun, three weeks at Christmas and four weeks in August. The timetable ran from 9am to noon, and from 1pm to 3pm. The schools did not receive any financial support from the local authority and each pupil paid a weekly schooling fee.

1900- The first lay headmaster, Mr Clifford, was appointed to the boys’ school.

1902 - His wife became the first woman lay teacher at the boys’ school.

1902 - The Education Act gave Catholics the right to receive aid from local councils. Additional fires and stoves were introduced to improve heating. Practical subjects such as woodwork for boys and cooking for girls were introduced.

1911 – Plans are made for building a new infants’ school because the Education Board did not think young girls should be educated with the older ones. A one-room school was built (now the staff room at the infants’ site).

1912 – A new infants’ school for girls was opened.

1918 – Education Act raised school leaving age from 12 to 14.

1919 – Boys’ and girls’ schools became mixed at St Marie’s for the first time. The girls’ and infants’ school were renamed St Marie’s Junior (Mixed) School, looking after children up to the age of 11. The boy’s and juniors’ school were renamed St Marie’s Central (Mixed) School, catering for pupils aged 11 to 14.

1945 – The junior school had 120 children but this was soon to rise dramatically in the post-war baby boom.

1947 – The junior school applied for four new classrooms to be built.

1950 – The junior school had 220 pupils.

1953 – It was agreed that a two-form entry secondary school was needed for the Catholic community.

1954 – The junior school had 388 pupils.

1956 – A new secondary school, named after Bishop Wulstan, was completed.

1956 – Separate junior and infant schools were created. The junior school wad 304 children aged from 7 to 11. The infant school catered for children aged 5 to 7.

1965 – Work started on a new two-form entry junior school on a five-acre site off Merttens Drive.

1969 – The new Junior school opened.

1973 – The school leaving age was raised to 16. The infant school (5 to 8) was renamed First School and the junior school (8 to 12) was renamed Middle School. A small sixth form was established at Bishop Wulstan (12 to 16).

1983 – Building began on a new First School on the St Marie’s site. The Education Authority had preferred the new school to be built on the Merttens Drive site.

Headteachers of St Marie’s Girls’ (or junior) Schools

1856 – Sr Mary Colette Burton
1858 – Sr Mary Winefride O’Clery
1860 – Sr Mary Aloysia Radford
1861 – Sr Mary Winefride
1867 – Sr Mary Angela Fordham
1870 – Sr Mary Gertrude Vavasour
1871 - Sr Mary Teresa Swift and Sr Mary Juliana Hall
1874 – Sr Mary Angela
1882 – Sr Mary Ignatia Rosser
1885 – Sr Mary Walburga White
1889 – Sr Mary Ignatia
1894 – Sr Mary Gabriel Sullivan
1907 – Sr Mary Perpetua Blackmore
1921 – Sr Mary Etheldreda Neesham
1928 – Sr Mary Stanislaus Honan
1936 – Sr Mary Patricia Mullins
1942 – Sr Mary Stanislaus
1942 – Sr Mary Elizabeth Murray

Infant (or First) School

1956 – Sr Mary Dominic
1978 – Sr Mary Giovanna
1984 – Mrs A McGawley
? - Mrs E. Sneddon
? - Mrs T. Edwards

Junior (or Middle) Schools

1956 – Sr Mary Elizabeth Murray
1959 – Mr G. Roberts
1989 – Mr M. Floyd
2009 – Mr S. Hallahan/ Mrs P.Collins (acting heads)

Primary School

2011 – Mr M.Walsh
2013 - Mr S McCarthy (Acting Head)
2014 - Mr D. McBride

Source: A Brief History of St Marie’s Church, 1844 to 1986 by Derek and Lucy Thackray