St Thomas More Catholic School, Bedford
|Motto||Latin: Primus Servus Dei|
|DfE URN||139517 Tables|
|Ofsted||Reports Pre-academy reports|
|Students||827 as of January 2016[update]|
|Colours||Black, Gold & Green|
|Publication||More News (Termly)|
The school is located on Tyne Crescent in the Brickhill area of north Bedford. The school has no specific catchment area, but attracts students from all over Bedford and the surrounding villages.
St Thomas More specialises in humanities and is a specialist teaching school. It was allocated one of the first 100 places of its kind. The school also provides special hearing provision.
The name of the school is derived from St Thomas More, an elder statesman from the sixteenth century. He is mainly remembered for his principled refusal to accept King Henry VIII's claim to be the supreme head of the Church of England, which decision ended his political career and led to his execution as a traitor. He was canonized by the Catholic Church under Pope Pius XI in 1935, and was later declared the patron saint of lawyers and statesmen.
Following the 1967 Plowden Report, Bedfordshire LEA decided to implement the three-tier education system of lower, middle and upper schools in the county. This created a need for a new Roman Catholic upper school (ages 13 to 18) in Bedford.
During 1977 and 1978, as the new school buildings in Brickhill were not ready for occupation, St Thomas More Upper School started out in the Westbourne Centre next to Westbourne School in Queens Park. Science classes were taken at Westfield School in Queens Park. The pupils were driven there by school bus.
St Thomas More Catholic School was formally opened in 1979 by Baroness Shirley Williams (then Secretary of State for Education and Science). The dedication Mass was conducted by Bishop Charles Alexander Grant (then Bishop of Northampton).
When St Bedes Middle school closed in 2006, academic years 7 and 8 were transferred to St Thomas More School, along with some of the teaching staff.
In July 2008 the school was awarded specialist status as a Humanities College, with English acting as the lead department. In 2007 English results placed the school in the top two per cent nationally.
In 2009 the school was recognised as consistently achieving the highest levels of improvement by pupils between the ages of 11 and 16 of any state school in Bedfordshire. In July 2011, the school become one of the first in the country to be granted teaching school status – a designation entitling it to lead the training and professional development of staff.
In 2012 The Federation of Bedford Catholic Schools' Governing Body launched a consultation on whether to convert its four schools into a federated academy trust. The school converted to academy status as part of the St Francis of Assisi Academies Trust in April 2013. From September 2014 the school began admitting pupils from year 7 (age 11), therefore converting from an upper school to a full secondary school.
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Anthony Doyle was the first headmaster from 1977 until his death in 1982. John McManus was the second Headmaster and Steve Watts became the third headmaster following McManus's retirement in 1994. Alan Lee became Headmaster in 2002. After Alan Lee left, and became the head of the Catholic Federation, Joe Richardson took over as headmaster, and left in 2014, leaving Alison Wilshaw to become headteacher. She is one of the longest serving teachers in the school having spent decades there as an English teacher.
The school today
St Thomas More Catholic School currently serves children aged 11–18 from all over the Borough of Bedford. It is part of St Francis of Assisi Academies Trust, under the guidance of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Northampton. The other schools within the trust are St Gregory's RC Middle School, St Joseph's Lower School, and St John Rigby Primary School.
- "St Thomas More Catholic School - GOV.UK". Compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
- "Leadership the key to top school's success - Bedfordshire on Sunday". Bedsonsunday.com. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
- Thursday 2 (29 January 2009). "St Thomas More is best improved school in Beds - News". Bedford Today. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
- "Bedfordshire Local News, Local News Headlines in Bedford | Bedfordshire Newspaper Online | School among first in the country to be honoured with accolade". Bedfordshire-news.co.uk. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
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- "News". St-thomasmore.org.uk. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012.