St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy

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St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy
St. Benet Biscop Catholic High School logo.png
Mottoes Pax Christi and
Learning to value,
Learning to give,
Learning to achieve,
Growing in the Peace of Christ
Established 1976
Type Selective academy
Religion Roman Catholic
Headteacher Mr Cornelius Todd BA
Chair of Governors Mrs Anne Hardy
Location Ridge Terrace
Northumberland Flag of Northumberland.svg
NE22 6ED
55°07′57″N 1°36′18″W / 55.13263°N 1.60489°W / 55.13263; -1.60489Coordinates: 55°07′57″N 1°36′18″W / 55.13263°N 1.60489°W / 55.13263; -1.60489
Local authority Northumberland Flag of Northumberland.svg
DfE URN 141814 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 913
Gender Male and Female
Ages 11–18
Houses Bish and Copt
Feast Day 12 January
Size of Grounds 25 acres (100,000 m2)
Diocese Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle of the Ecclesiastical province of Liverpool

St. Benet Biscop Catholic Academy (formerly S. Benet Biscop Catholic High School) is a Roman Catholic selective high school in Bedlington, Northumberland. It is the only Catholic high school in the county. The school specialises in Enterprise, though also places a significant emphasis on the Arts and Religious Education. It is currently the first and only school in the United Kingdom that has set up its own social enterprise business.

In 2006, the school upgraded one of the school halls into a new conference centre including two new ICT rooms and two conference rooms which can be rented out by the public.[citation needed]. The School boasts state of the art facilities including recording studios, abundant IT facilities, an on-site swimming pool, a well-equipped fitness gymnasium, a new, professional standard drama studio and extensively large grounds used for sports. Said Arts facilities of the School, known as the Admit Centre (Art, Drama, Music and Information Technology Centre) are, after school hours, available to be rented out privately to the public. The school's colours are black and red, which feature prominently in the uniform. The current Headmaster is Mr Con Todd.

Reputation and public image[edit]

The county of Northumberland's only Catholic High School is S. Benet Biscop Catholic Academy. It is noted for its sponsorship received from the Co-operative group, its high academic standards and its involvement in the local community in the fields of performance and the promotion of ethical business practise and Catholicism.[citation needed]

One[who?] said, "St. Benet Biscop [Catholic Academy], is without a doubt an incredible establishment. Its high standards in education and behaviour have afforded it a well deserved reputation for academic excellence."[1]

The school's Sister School is Collège Privé Sainte-Thérèse, in Frontignan, Southern France; and the school maintains strong links with El colegio ferroviario de Córdoba, in Andalusia, Southern Spain. School trips in travel to New York City, the Hexham and Newcastle Diocesan Youth Ministry Team Youth Village, Ushaw College (a seminary for the formation of Catholic priests, deacons, religious and lay ministers) and Minsteracres Catholic Retreat Centre.

St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy is the first and only school in the UK to date to have founded a fully functioning independent business, which was visited by The Princess Royal in 2008. In October 2008 the school hosted the Wansbeck Business Award Ceremony, which was presented by Jayne Middlemiss, and earlier that year Sir John Hall, a renowned international businessman and founder of the MetroCentre, was a guest orator at a similar event hosted by the school. On 15 January 2009, the school appeared on GMTV to raise awareness for fitness and healthy eating. The show's Mr Motivator commented "this school is a real example to all schools across the UK in that they have, as part of their curriculum, Dance, Music and Theatre which are all good things to get teenagers and kids of any age into shape."[citation needed]


An example of a religious Icon from a classroom

Catholicism forms an integral part of life at St. Benet Biscop Academy. A large stained glass window in the main foyer depicting St. Benedict Biscop himself, as well as other aspects of the school's ethos. The image of the window is often used throughout the school as a symbol of the school's identity. To mark its unveiling in the year 2000 each student was presented with a biography of the life of the school's patron saint. The Feast of Saint Benet Biscop is celebrated every year on 12 January with Mass attended by all staff and students. The St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy's Motto is Pax Christi. This Motto is represented on the School's badge. Every year, students are invited to attend the Diocesan Annual Youth Festival, organised by the Youth Ministry Team.[citation needed]

An etching of Saint Benet Biscop

St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy is in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle of the Ecclesiastical province of Liverpool. The current Biscop of the Diocese is Séamus Cunningham. The Diocesan patrons are Our Blessed Lady Immaculate (8 December) and Saint Cuthbert, Bishop and Confessor (20 March).


Saint Benedict Biscop
Saint Biscop Baducing
Born c. 628
Northumbria Flag of Northumberland.svg
Died (690-01-12)12 January 690
St Peter's, Wearmouth
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
and Church of England
Major shrine Wearmouth 690-c. 980;
translated c. 980 from there to
Thorney Abbey (Glastonbury Abbey
also claims his relics)
Feast 12 January (C of E calendar)
Patronage English Benedictines,[2] musicians, painters, and (since 24 March 2004) the City of Sunderland[3] St. Benet Biscop Catholic Academy in Northumberland


The following subjects are compulsory to all first year (year 9) students:

When pupils reach GCSE level, Religious Education, English Literature, English Language, Mathematics, Science and remain compulsory for all. Attendance to Physical Education is obligatory, though this is a separate class to GCSE PE. Students then chose four or more of the remaining "electives" or non-compulsory lessons, and continue these to GCSE level. At GCSE, the subjects ICT, Business Studies, health and social care and Drama also become optional subjects. All students who which to remain in St. Benet Biscop Catholic High School for 6th Form must have achieved GCSE results which are above a grade boundary which is agreed annually. Most students at the School study five subjects in VIth form including General Studies which all students are bound to do by default. At A-Level, Religious Education becomes Religious Studies of Philosophy and Ethics, which remains one of the most popular electives in 6th Form.

BISH and COPT[edit]

Students after completion of year 8 are divided into either "BISH" or "COPT" in a system which replaced the old House System. Each year in the lower school is divided into the classes B,I,S,H,C,O,P and T. Classes B,I,S,H are referred to as "BISH" and the remaining classes form "COPT". Thus the form classes of year nine would be 9B, 9I, 9S, 9H, 9C, 9O 9P and 9T. Setting is done according to ability and group in subjects such as Science and Maths. The system originally included only the letters B,I,S,C,O and P (to spell "Biscop"), but classes "H" and "T" were later added to maintain low class sizes.In assemblies BISH pupils sit on the Orator's right, and COPT on their left. But for lessons, the groups are united in all other aspects of the School - students dine and attend Liturgies and Mass together, regardless of whether they are in BISH or COPT.

The School's Crest was modernised in 2008


St Benet Biscop attracted a great deal of press coverage after its creation of an entirely self-sufficient Social Enterprise called Benet Enterprises Ltd. - the first of its kind in the UK. The company functions as an events management service promoting enterprise in the region, and any profits are invested back into the business. It has been hailed unanimously as a great success, with a £70,000 turnover in its first year, and a projected £200,000 by the end of year three. The headmaster was quoted as saying:

"Tremendous effort and money is invested in firing up youngsters to get them excited about creating their own business ideas. However, once an event or activity ends, nothing is done to capture those ideas and to see how viable they are. “We have created a limited company that will work with pupils when they leave school for up to a year to see if they can make these fledgling ventures work. I have no doubt that this will lead to new business creation in the coming years."

Reorganisation to 11-18[edit]

The closure of Middle Schools has already started in the county of Northumberland, with the town of Cramlington becoming the first in the region to transfer to two-tier education. This has led to the creation of the newly opened Cramlington Learning Village. Children in years 8 and 9 of St Peter's RC Middle School in Cramlington opted not to attend the Cramlington Learning Village due to its secular status, however, their natural High School, St. Benet Biscop Catholic High School, is situated in Bedlington, where the move toward two-tier education had not yet begun. St. Benet Biscop Catholic Academy, in response to the dilemma, was forced to construct a new facility to accommodate the pupils of St. Peter's R.C Middle School on their grounds.[citation needed]

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ School profile,; accessed 20 September 2014.
  2. ^ English Benedictine Congregation - January Ordo; accessed 20 September 2014.
  3. ^ Sunderland City Council minutes, 24 March 2004

External links[edit]