St Benedict's Catholic College
|Motto||Ora et labora
(Pray and work)
|Type||Voluntary aided school|
|Headteacher||Mrs Jo Santinelli|
|DfE URN||115382 Tables|
|Colours||Blue and gold|
St Benedict's Catholic College is a coeducational secondary school in Colchester, Essex. As the only remaining Catholic secondary school in Colchester, it has a fairly large catchment area which includes North Essex and is one of the top performing non-selective state schools in Colchester.
St Benedict's Roman Catholic Secondary School opened in 1963 as a voluntary aided secondary modern. It became comprehensive in 1976 when the tripartite system was scrapped. In 1999 it reverted to voluntary aided status. The school's first female headteacher Mrs Jo Santinelli, the incumbent, was appointed prior to the 2012-13 academic year.
On January 27, 2011 a great protest was held against the establishment of St Benedict's Catholic College. The protest was described by one 'insider' as pandemonium. The protest was against the alleged banning of pupils holding hands. The true nature of this ban is sill an ongoing investigation. In memorial of this protest every January ex pupils hold a parade in memory of those who lost their afternoons education for their cause.
The uniform consists of a white blouse or shirt, black trousers or a grey skirt, black formal shoes, a royal blue tie with gold double bar stripes and a black blazer with the school badge sown on the top left outer pocket. A black jumper to go under the blazer is also acceptable during the winter months.
The school day consists of five lessons or "periods" with a twenty-minute break between the second and third lesson and a 50-minute lunch break between the fourth and fifth.
The range of subjects taught at St Benedict's is broad. There is the traditional English, Mathematics and Science (split into Physics, Chemistry and Biology at the beginning of Year 9). St Benedict's is known as a Business and Languages College, meaning that the students are taught business skills from Year 9 upwards and languages from Year 7 upwards with the opportunity to learn a second language from the beginning of Year 9. The main languages taught are French and German, the Year 9 option is Spanish, and there is an after-school club, run by one of the English Department teachers, which teaches Latin. As the school is a Catholic College, religious education is included in the timetable. During these lessons, students not only learn more about Christianity, but about other religions too, Judaism for example is part of the Year 8 curriculum. History and Geography are also included as well as PSHE lessons. During Year 7, there is the chance to achieve Bully Free Form for the tutor groups which is achieved through posters, discussions and role plays. IT (Information Technology) is also taught with four computer suites and two computers available in the Library. PE (Physical Education) is taught and there are many lunchtime and after school sports clubs. Technology is taught with the classes being Resistant Materials, systems and control, Food and Textiles.
The school is equipped with computer labs and a well-stocked library. There are six science laboratories with equipment for all experiments. The Technology classrooms are also well equipped. Since receiving Business and Enterprise College specialist status, the extra funding was used to add a new business studies suite.
The PE department has had a new block built with updated changing rooms (male and female) and a new gymnasium. There are two gymnasiums, a running track, long jump, two rounders pitches, tennis courts, netball courts, indoor and outdoor basketball courts football pitches and a rugby pitch as well as equipment to do high jump and indoor sports such as basketball, badminton, gymnastics, dance, table tennis.
Notable former pupils
- "St Benedict's Catholic College". BBC News. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
- "Colchester college principal Jo brings new school of thought". Gazette News. 9 May 2012.
- "North Essex: Who tops the table?". Essex County Standard. 28 February 2008.
- 'Education', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 9: The Borough of Colchester. Courtesy of British History Online. 1994. pp. 352–66.
- "Colchester school must count cost of opting in". Essex County Standard. 8 January 1999.
- "Colchester: New business suite at St Benedict's". Essex County Standard. 1 July 2004.
- Joseph, Anne (17 December 2010). "My best teacher - Dermot O'Leary". Times Educational Supplement.