South Tyneside primary expands its award-winning nursery provision

May 22, 2024

A primary school in Jarrow is expanding its award-winning nursery provision from September.

The Early Explorers Nursery at St Bede’s Catholic Primary School currently offers 15 hours of childcare provision between 8.50am and 12pm, Monday to Friday for 26 children.

In the autumn term, there will also be limited 30-hour places available at the Harold Street school, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust.

The Early Years Foundation Stage team was awarded the prestigious EYFS Quality Mark about 18 months ago for promoting and supporting the development of young children in their communication, language and early mathematical skills.

Mark Hurst, the new headteacher of St Bede’s, which celebrates its 110th anniversary this year, says: “It’s a really exciting time for St Bede’s to grow as a school. We aim to meet the needs of family and parents in our community and offering 30-hour places will help towards that.

“We’re also confident that we provide excellent care and support in the right environment for our children, as highlighted with the EYFS Quality Mark.”

Mark has worked at the school for seven years, first as deputy headteacher and became acting headteacher six months ago; his role has recently been made permanent.

“I see it as an incredible honour to be headteacher of this wonderful school,” says Mark, who completed his teacher training at Carmel College in Darlington following graduation from Manchester Metropolitan University.

“I know it so well and know it’s amazing and I’m looking forward to making it even better.”

Former headteacher Moya Rooney, who retired at Christmas, was a “wonderful mentor” to Mark, who added that her support was “invaluable”.

Mark was recently announced as a finalist in the Multi-Academy Trust’s Chadwick Celebrates awards in the Gospel Value award category. The awards, which have a range of categories from Teacher of the Year (Primary and Secondary) to Everyday Hero, are held at Ramside Hall in Durham every summer term to celebrate the school staff at the Trust’s 25 primary schools and five secondaries.

“I’m a little bit taken aback and shocked to be shortlisted, although deep down, I’m really pleased,” he says.

“I hadn’t realised I had done something so special – I try to make Gospel values part of everyday school life not only in RE lessons – and it’s lovely that it’s been spotted by others.”

For more information about St Bede’s Catholic Primary School and to apply for Early Years provision, please visit

For more information about BCCET, please visit

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