Have you ever wondered why our school is called St Catherineʼs? It started out as something else, can you guess what it might have been?
In the late nineteenth century our parish church, St Dominicʼs, opened a school next door to the church; it was called St Dominicʼs Primary School.
Meanwhile in Jesmond there was an order of Dominican Sisters who lived in a place known as The Minories near the Cradlewell. There was a convent and a small preparatory school for boys. In the late 1960ʼs the city council planned to build a big new road and the Sisters had to move so they were given a new site. St Catherineʼs Convent and a new prep school for boys was built in the early 1970ʼs.
Over in Shieldfield, St Dominicʼs Primary Schoolʼs building was now quite old and in a poor state, while at St Catherineʼs there werenʼt many pupils in a brand new building. It was decided to move all the pupils and staff from St Dominics to St Catherineʼs school. The Sisters made a condition, that St Dominicʼs Primary take on the new name of St Catherineʼs.
In September 1973 the new St Catherineʼs RC Primary school opened its doors; the building has been adapted and extended over the years, but the beautiful grounds remain a feature of the school.
In the history of the school, there have only ever been three headteachers, which says a lot for the drawing power of this special community. Mr Watson was Headteacher from the school's opening at St Catherine's until being succeeded in 1984 by Miss Martin (who later became Mrs Burns). Mr Ewing was appointed headteacher in 1995 and worked here until December 2022. Miss Hoey is the current headteacher
What is the pattern on our school shield and what does Veritas mean?
Our school shield shows the Dominican cross; it is black and white because Dominican habits are black and white. The cross comes from the Torch of Truth, a symbol of the Domincan order, often shown being carried in the mouth of a little black and white dog. Veritas is our school motto; it means Truth.
- Incidentally, the road that the council moved the convent for, the Cradlewell Bypass, wasnʼt built until the 1990ʼs.
- The letter giving approval to change the use of St Catherine's from a private school to a primary school within Newcastle Local Authority was signed by the Education Secretary at that time, Margaret Thatcher.
- One of the adaptations which took place in 1995, some 22 years after the school building accommodated both girls and boys, was the removal of the wall urinals from the girlsʼ toilets and an increase in cubicles from two to five!
- One of the theories about why Newcastle United wear black and white can be found on the NUFC website:
- The most popular theory surrounds a fervent supporter from the city's Blackfriars monastery, Father Dalmatius Houtmann. This Dutchman was often to be seen with United's players in the years before the turn of the century, the monastery being just a goal-kick away from St. James' Park. He was dressed in a traditional black and white habit, and it has been suggested that the Club decided to adopt his colours.