Primary school in Jarrow celebrates 110th anniversary

Feb 22, 2024

School children enjoyed a fascinating look back through history to celebrate their primary school’s special anniversary.

St Bede’s Catholic Primary School in Jarrow held an exhibition displaying old photographs, newspaper cuttings and even logbooks from 1914 unearthed as part of the primary’s 110th anniversary. The site originally housed a hospital and once a school, it was divided into separate infants and junior schools.

St Bede’s, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, one of the first Catholic school in Jarrow, a source of pride for acting headteacher Mark Hurst.

“That means the majority of people who live in Jarrow know the school and either attended themselves or know someone who was a pupil here,” said Mr Hurst.

“We have a great sense of heritage and community here. We are all connected and have strong links with the families in the community.

“It was fascinating looking at the old logbooks, which are like diaries, and photos and the children and staff loved looking back through the school’s history.”

Some of the school’s former pupils are now members of staff at St Bede’s. They include Monica Relf, who has worked at the primary school for more than 20 years as a teaching assistant.

“I have always been involved with St Bede’s school and the church,” she said.

“I started as a pupil in September 1972. I went to Mayfield Infants and then joined St Bede’s Juniors.”

Returning to the school as a member of staff has been a pleasure for Mrs Relf who has seen some significant changes in school to when she was a schoolgirl.

“It was immensely special to return as a member of staff having enjoyed being a pupil here,” she said.

“The inside of the school has dramatically changed.

“The staff room used to be on the other side of the building. We didn’t have a big school field; there was a street around us. At the back of the school, there were houses. Aside from that, it more or less looks the same outside as it did then except the nursery extension which was added later.”

Listening to stories from former pupils and looking through the old photos and documents has been a real-life learning experience for the pupils.

Seth Robertson, 10, Year 6, said: “It was good seeing what other people got up to and how the school has evolved.”

Riley Allan, 10, Year 6, said: “The teachers look very different to what they do today.”

Charlotte Newbrook,10, Year 5, said: “It was good to compare what life was like in the past at St Bede’s to what it’s like today.”

The school is planning a community event later in the year for the public to attend. More details will be released closer to the time.

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