Important Update -Mr Celano, Headteacher

Dear Parents,

Thank you for all the messages of support and prayers since the incident of 20th April. Please continue your prayers for the student, the school and all concerned – but most of all for continued good news for the student. Whilst the students in school are remarkably resilient and progressing their school work as usual, we do not want to forget to pray for all who have been affected.

Today though I am able to write with significant news that I must now share with you. You may recall reading an article in our Easter Magazine titled ‘newsflash’? In that article I wrote about notification that I had received just before Easter to say that we might be successful with a further £million bid to fully redevelop and refurbish K block. It had been my intention to write shortly after Easter, but I am pleased today to give you news of our bid. The news is mainly positive, but also contains one or two challenges.

The positive: Over Easter we received a letter informing us that our bid was successful! This means that we will be beginning a £million heavy refurbishment of K Block (inside & out) delivering 10 brand new spec classrooms, toilets and facilities by September 2018. This, added to our brand new Science Labs, means 17 brand new classrooms created across the school over the last 2 terms; fast paced improvement, and a wonderful resource for the children and staff.

The challenges though are twofold. Firstly, as we knew a few weeks ago that the bid was looking likely to be successful, we put in planning permission and tendering services in advance, but it will still be tough to get everything started in time to get a completion date of 31st August 2018; to try and complete the work by 31st August, we need to start in just a few days from now. The Diocesan Building Consultants are managing this project for us, as they did for the successful Science project completed just yesterday. I briefed the students in assemblies w/c 16th April that we would be closing K block at Half Term (just 15 school days from now), and we should be able to manage well without the K Block classrooms from that date owing to the fact that Year 11 & Year 13 lessons will be mainly concluded by then. This will enable those vacated classrooms to be used for the re-rooming of Year 7-10 and Year 12 classes.

The second challenge relates to funding: Whilst the £million has been secured, like all Catholic Voluntary Aided schools the bid is funded at 90%. This means we need to try and fund 10%. Through the Friends of St. Mary’s we have been fortunate to be able to help with sums like this in the past, e.g. the Science project recently received a donation of £100,000 from the Friends. For this project, we now need to consider how else we can each further support the Friends, and/or find other avenues to help raise these funds ourselves.

I welcome any and all suggestions and if you would like to get involved or just share an idea with me about what we might do, I would love to hear from you directly. Please just email me directly at

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Celano

Posted 6 months ago