St Mary's Roman Catholic High School, Chesterfield

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For schools with a similar name, see St. Mary's Roman Catholic High School (disambiguation).
St Mary's Catholic High School
Motto Gaudium Et Spes
(Latin: "Joy and Hope")
Established 30 January 1865
Type Academy
Religion Roman Catholic
Headteacher S. McClafferty BA (Hons)
Location Newbold Road
S41 8AG
Coordinates: 53°15′12″N 1°27′11″W / 53.25324°N 1.45311°W / 53.25324; -1.45311
DfE number 830/5413
DfE URN 138470 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Students 1142
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses Alpha, Pax, Chi-Rho, Pneuma, Omega, Ichthus
Colours Navy Blue

St Mary's Roman Catholic High School is a Roman Catholic, co-educational, secondary school with academy status in Upper Newbold, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, that specialises in the teaching of languages.

It received a School Achievements Award for the third time in 2003 and has approximately 1260 pupils attending, including 254 sixth form students (as of 2006).

The Headteacher of this school is currently Mr S McClafferty, after the retirement of Mr T Moore OBE who has won awards for his involvements in the school's charity work, particularly the funding and building of a school in Burkina Faso, Africa. He received an OBE in December 2006;[1] this was mentioned on the local BBC News programme Look North.

The school is voluntary aided and holds many fundraising events in order to aid itself financially.

St Mary's performance is considerably higher than the local and national average,[2] and was recognised as 'particularly successful' by Ofsted in 1993-4 and 1997-8.[3]

However, the School has no specific geographical catchment area (like other schools in the area) and so can choose students from church Parishes in Chesterfield, though all Catholic applicants are generally accepted; regardless of academic ability.[4]

The school adopted the song "Let us build a school" as their official school hymn in 2006. Former Australian international cricketer Jason Gillespie has visited the school, and there is a picture of him in the sports hall to commemorate this.



The school was first 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.[5] 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 motto was chosen by the Governors and Sixth Form Council, after an open call for contributions.

Present Campus[edit]

The present campus was the brainchild of Canon David Ryan. He worked tirelessly, 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 2000 a new building was built to house the school's ICT facilities. This was dedicated to Canon David Ryan and was named 'The Canon David Ryan Building'.

In the summer of 2002, work in building an all-weather astroturf 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 also the local hockey club.

In September 2003 work on a 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 summer of 2005.

Currently, the school is doing work on a new Drama Studio next to the Music Block.

140th Anniversary[edit]

The school celebrated its 140th Anniversary in 2005. One of the main celebrations involved the building of a school in Burkina Faso. Fundraising started in 2005, in order to reach a target of £30,000.

The school is now complete and footage of lessons were recently shown on the local BBC News programme Look North in December 2006, in the same article announcing that Mr. T. Moore will be receiving an OBE.


The school is celebrating its Sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary). It's officially on 30 January 2015, however a competition has already taken place during art lessons for a new 'letter head' or 'logo' which is now shown.

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 and the house symbol is a dove it is also the best in many respects
  • Chi Rho - The symbol is the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ (chi = ch and rho = r) superimposed.
  • Ichthys - The house symbol is a fish.
  • Pneuma - The house symbol is a flame, signifying the everlasting flame of Christ.

The house symbols appear on the students badges. The colour of the picture shows which year group they belong to and the colour is retained until the student leaves the school.

Pupils can be rewarded with merits for repeatedly achieving good work. These merits count towards the points scored by the pupil's house for the year.


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 summer 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.They will also be going on tour in June 2016 to Salzburg Austria

School Status[edit]

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


  1. ^ 2006 Birthday Honours list, containing the nomination of Thomas Moore.
  2. ^ School status at BBC site accessed 24 December 2007
  3. ^ Ofsted report on line
  4. ^ Criteria for Admission in September 2008 accessed 24 December 2007
  5. ^ Church of The Annunciation, Chesterfield - A Celebration of 150 Years 1854-2004 ISBN 0-9548623-0-9

External links[edit]