I am delighted to welcome you to St Mary’s.

St Mary’s is a wonderful school, first and foremost because of our fantastic students.  Our students are lovely young people and we are blessed to have them in our school.  It is our privilege to nurture our students throughout their time with us, ensuring that all students are fully supported in reaching their full potential and developing their own unique God-given gifts and talents.  Many of our students are Catholics but we welcome equally students from many Faith backgrounds.  There is a vibrant mix of cultural, ethnic, socio-economic and faith backgrounds represented in the school and whilst the vast majority of students are English, children from over 40 countries are on roll.  This diversity within the student body is one of the many positive features of St Mary’s.  It is very rewarding to serve these wonderful students in a happy and inclusive community.

St Mary’s also benefits from having an excellent teaching and support staff team.  The staff are very hardworking and talented, always demonstrating exceptional care and commitment to our students.  We also enjoy a very strong partnership with our family of primaries and links with parishes are strong, as is our partnership with Diocesan and Local Authority schools.

We are also delighted to have recently joined the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust, one of four large trusts within the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.  As an Outstanding school, St Mary’s plays a leading role within the Trust and more widely, leading significant school improvement, training and leadership development across other schools, as well as sharing good practice in academic achievement and teaching and learning across many other schools in the north-east.  We also play a leading role in teacher training across the region.

St Mary’s has been judged Outstanding four times in the last twelve years, in our full Ofsted inspection, in our subject inspection of English and in our Diocesan inspections.  I would encourage you to read our inspection reports and the school prospectus, to get a sense of some of the school’s many strengths.  Please do also read our most recent Newsletters and Shine Bulletins, as they highlight many of our fantastic students’ achievements.

Our students’ progress and attainment are excellent, among the very best in the north-east and the UK.   High standards of academic achievement are, however, just one element of our mission to provide our students with the best possible holistic education.  Their all-round development is equally important.  As a Catholic/Christian school, nurturing children’s spiritual development is central to everything we do.  This aspect of school life is flourishing.  We have an excellent climate for learning in school.  Students are extremely well behaved in and out of lessons.  This is a key ingredient in the school’s on-going success and popularity with parents. Again, I would strongly encourage you to read our Main School Prospectus, as it will give you a good flavour of our pastoral distinctiveness and the curriculum organisation of the school.

As well as perusing our website and reading all of the documents mentioned, I would also strongly recommend that you talk to families whose children currently attend St Mary’s. I am sure that they will speak very positively about their experiences. All of these suggestions will, I hope, help you to get a good feel for our wonderful school.

Miss Patterson