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St Bede's Catholic Comprehensive School

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St Bede's is a Catholic secondary comprehensive school in Peterlee, County Durham, England. In summer 2006 it achieved its best-ever GCSE exam results. It is an 11-18 school for boys and girls living in the East Durham area. The school holds specialist Humanities College status. In 2017 the school was graded as 'Good' by Ofsted inspectors.

St. Bede's Catholic Comprehensive School

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Coordinates54°45′29″N 1°20′46″W / 54.758°N 1.346°W / 54.758; -1.346Coordinates: 54°45′29″N 1°20′46″W / 54.758°N 1.346°W / 54.758; -1.346
TypeVoluntary aided school
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Established1970 (1970)
Local authorityCounty Durham Council
Department for Education URN114327 Tables
ChairMr Anthony McCourt
HeadteacherMr Brendan Tapping
Age11 to 18

Early historyEdit

The school was officially opened in 1970 by Bishop Hugh Lindsay, but actually opened for staff and pupils in September 1969. Then only the first-year students, born in 1957-58, were a truly non-selective 'comprehensive' intake. These were the first Catholic pupils in the area not to sit the 11-plus examination. Second-year and upwards pupils were all pupils who had 'failed' the 11-plus and were thus taken from the various Catholic secondary modern schools in the area that had been closed and replaced by the new institution.

Meanwhile, those older students who had passed their 11-plus in 1968 and earlier years continued to be educated at the St Francis RC Grammar School(boys) and at the Convent (girls) at Hartlepool. When those schools closed in 1973, some of these pupils finally arrived at St Bede's as sixth-formers. The school was thus effectively a secondary modern for the first few years of its life.

The school's founding head teacher was Mr D Mylroi, a former teacher at St Francis. The first Deputy Headmaster was Mr Cunningham.

The school was organised on a 'house' system. Originally there were four of these, each named after a local bishop: Hogarth, Chadwick, Berwick and O'Callaghan. Members of each house were supposed to wear braiding on their green uniform blazers to denote which houses they belonged to. Hogarth was red; Chadwick was yellow; Berwick was blue; and O'Callaghan was green.

Each house had its own dining hall where the housemasters conducted morning assemblies. Only very rarely, such as at the belated 'official' opening of the school in 1970, did the entire school assemble together.

In the early years, most pupils left school as soon as they could, which in those days was at 15. 1972 was the last year that pupils were able to leave school at 15 (that is, at the end of the fourth year) and it was only after this date that appreciable numbers stayed on into the sixth form. Indeed, in the early years, even the fifth form was very small.

A new purpose-built sixth-form block was opened in September 1973. In September 1974, true comprehensive school status was achieved when some of the first-year intake of 1969 entered the Sixth Form.

Corporal punishment, in the form of caning, was used in the early years of the school, but only the housemasters and headmistress (Miss Cockburn) were allowed to administer it.[citation needed]

The school was rebuilt in 2010.

External linksEdit