St Mary's Roman Catholic High School, Chesterfield

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St Mary's Catholic High School
Gatefield Close

, ,
S41 8AG

Coordinates53°15′12″N 1°27′11″W / 53.25324°N 1.45311°W / 53.25324; -1.45311Coordinates: 53°15′12″N 1°27′11″W / 53.25324°N 1.45311°W / 53.25324; -1.45311
MottoGaudium et Spes
Religious affiliation(s)Catholic
SpecialistLanguage College
Department for Education URN138470 Tables
HeadteacherMrs M Dengate
Age11 to 19
EnrolmentApprox. 1,300 pupils
HousesPneuma Ichthus Pax ChiRho Alpha Omega
Colour(s)Navy Blue
Broke Ground30 May 1978

St Mary's Catholic High School is a Catholic, co-educational, secondary school with academy status in Upper Newbold, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, that specialises in the teaching of Maths and History [1]

It received a School Achievements Award for the third time in 2003 and has approximately 1,300 pupils attending, including over 250 sixth form students.



The school opened on 8 January 1856. It was part of the Church of the Annunciation, a Roman Catholic church in Chesterfield, built by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and completed in 1854.[2] The church at the time was also known as St Mary's. The school later moved to a site on Cross Street, also in Chesterfield, around 100 metres from the church. The buildings on Cross Street are now home to St Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School, a feeder school to St Mary's Roman Catholic High School. Both schools are closely linked with the Church of the Annunciation.

In 1997, the school adopted the motto that now adorns the school badge, "Gaudium et Spes", meaning "Joy and Hope".

The school's mission is "Live, love and learn in the light of Christ".

Present campus[edit]

The present campus was the brainchild of Canon David Ryan. He worked for fourteen years from the time of his arrival as Parish Priest at the Annunciation, to raise funds for the new school campus. The present campus was officially opened in 1982, one year after its completion. In 1996, a new Music Block and Maths/Physics Block were built, and in 2000 a new building was built to house the school's ICT facilities and sixth form study. This was dedicated to Canon David Ryan and was named the Canon David Ryan Building. David Ryan died in 2003.

In the middle of 2002, work in building an all-weather astro-turf sports pitch was completed. The pitch has facilities for football and hockey, and is floodlit for use during the evening, particularly for after-school sports fixtures and Chesterfield Hockey Club.

View of Reception before the high security perimeter fencing was installed.

In September 2003, work on a £1.6 million Sports Hall was started, the building was completed in June 2004. The building was dedicated and blessed in the same month.

In 2004, work started on building a new building to house the school's English Department, this was completed in the middle of 2005.

Footballer Harry Maguire presents a signed shirt to Mrs Scain and Mr McKee on 10 January 2018.

The new reception area was completed in the middle of 2009.

In 2014, work began on a new Drama Studio next to the Music Block, to replace the original one in the Humanities Block, which is now Learning Support. The new Drama Studio was completed in the middle of 2015. The Drama Hall was also extended at this time.

In 2016, one of the language classrooms was turned into Maths 6. In 2017, Art 3 was converted into a room used as part of the Enrichment Learning Programme. The portacabins have also been converted into a 'wellbeing hub'.

Future of campus[edit]

Plans are currently being drawn up (April 2018) for a new two-storey block which will be located on the site of the cage and portacabins. It will include many more classrooms, offices and facilities including communal toilets, special needs rooms, pupil media facilities and a large events hall and foyer with lantern roof. These plans have likely been cancelled. A large sum of money was spent replacing the tannoy system, ceilings, lights and getting a new fire alarm system installed between July 2018 and February 2019.


The school celebrated its sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) on 30 January 2015. A competition took place during art lessons to design a new logo for the school. A time capsule was buried outside the Admin Block to be opened in 2065. There is a plaque located above the site of it. Planting of trees also took place to replace the one destroyed by the extension of the Drama Hall.


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The school has around 120 staff, including teaching assistants, plus midday supervisors, cooks and cleaners. The head is Mrs M Dengate who has been the head since Easter 2017.

The list of the senior leadership team and pastoral staff is on the school website. [3]

School houses[edit]

St Mary's has six school houses which compete in the school's various inter-house events (primarily sport). The house names reflect the school's Catholic ethos:

  • Alpha - The house symbol is the Greek letter alpha
  • Omega - The house symbol is the Greek letter omega
  • Pax - Sign of peace holy spirit and the house symbol is a dove.
  • Chi Rho - The symbol is the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ (chi = x and rho = p) superimposed.
  • Ichthus - The house symbol is a fish which was used by early Christians
  • Pneuma - The house symbol is a flame, signifying the everlasting flame of Christ and breath of God.

The house symbols appear on the pupils' badges. The colour of the picture shows which year group they belong to and the colour is retained until the pupil leaves Year 11.


The school has several choirs spanning all year groups. The school has its own male voice choir - "Manflesh" - formed after the Chamber Choir ended in the middle of 2007. The male choir made its first appearance at the 2007 Crooked Spire concert, singing 'Gaudete' and 'A La Ruru Nino'. 2008 saw Manflesh sing at the Winding Wheel, and then in July, along with the other school choirs, tour Venice singing at St Mark's Basilica and San Giovanni. In 2013, "Mini Manflesh" was added to the list of choirs, an all-male choir for lower years. The school holds concerts throughout the year at different venues, and has a large band which perform in the three masses in the school year. The choir continuously tours around parts of Europe during the summer months, singing in cathedrals.

School status[edit]

St. Mary's is a DfES designated Language College and Academy.

St Mary's performance is considerably higher than the local and national average,[4] [5]and was recognised as "particularly successful" by Ofsted in 1993-4 and 1997-8.[6] It was then rated as 'Outstanding' in October 2012.[7]

The school has no specific geographical catchment area (like other schools in the area) and so can choose pupils from church parishes in Chesterfield, though all Catholic applicants are generally accepted; regardless of academic ability.[8]

The school adopted the song "Let us build a school" as their official school hymn in 2006. This was then replaced with 'Walking in faith with Mary our Mother', the current hymn which was written by Music teacher Mrs F Fletcher (who also wrote several hymns for the school’s bi-annual masses, including the Holy Holy). In 2018, former pupils Harry and Laurence Maguire visited the school. On Thursday 4 October 2018, Gary Lineker visited the school along with Harry Maguire as part of The Premier League Show. They visited Harry's younger sister, Daisy in an Art lesson, joined in a PE lesson on the Astro, interviewed Martin McKee (Head of PE and Harry's PE teacher) before the interviews in the Library after school.[9]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Strengths in Maths and History".
  2. ^ Church of the Annunciation, Chesterfield - A Celebration of 150 Years 1854-2004 ISBN 0-9548623-0-9
  3. ^ "Senior Leadership Team – St Mary's Catholic High School". Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  4. ^ School status at BBC site accessed 24 December 2007
  5. ^ "St Mary's Catholic High School, A Catholic Voluntary Academy - GOV.UK". Find and compare schools in England. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  6. ^ Ofsted report on line
  7. ^ "OFSTED Inspection Full Report October 2012".
  8. ^ Criteria for Admission in September 2008 accessed 24 December 2007
  9. ^ Goalhanger, Harry Maguire EXTENDED INTERVIEW | The Premier League Show, retrieved 6 February 2019

External links[edit]