We have now been in our new school building for five years and it continues to provide us with an inspirational resource for students and staff alike. The building is spacious, light, airy and conducive to an outstanding climate for teaching and learning.
On entering the school, you walk in to the impressive atrium, which forms the central space of the school, and it is from here that the main teaching areas radiate outwards. Students soon find their way around as everything leads back to the atrium. The atrium space has developed a life of its own, not only for teaching and learning activities but also as a meeting place for staff and students on a daily basis.
This space has also been the venue for concerts, parents’ evenings, staff meetings and, most memorably, for whole school gatherings at different times of the year, including Remembrance Day services, Christmas celebrations and Lenten liturgies. Overlooking the atrium, at the heart of the school, is the school Chapel, a place for reflection and prayer.
Along the front of the school is the spacious main hall together with the attractive dining room to the east and the library and the excellent sports facilities to the west of the main entrance. The sports facilities include a four-court sports hall, a superb activity studio and a modern fitness suite equipped with the latest in fitness machines. The fitness suite has proved to be very popular with students and staff.
The main teaching areas are accessed from the central atrium with classrooms that are bright, spacious and fully equipped with interactive whiteboards and modern furniture and fittings. Each year group has its own set of toilets, landscaped yard area and an entrance where lockers are located. There is also a very large field at the back of the school, which is open to the students in fine weather.
There is a dedicated Sixth Form area found on the second level, which includes a café-style work area, a study room with ICT facilities and a suite of Sixth Form classrooms.
Due to its continued popularity and success, St Mary’s is one of only two north-east secondary schools that has successfully bid for government funding for a small extension of its building. An extension which has created additional teaching space for current and future students and matches the build quality and visual appearance of the existing building opened this September.
The extension has created more space along the central corridor to enjoy an outstanding education in first class facilities.
An outstanding education is essential for our students’ life chances and this extension will help us to strengthen still further the quality of education that we can give to our young people from our local community.