In November 2005, we celebrated one hundred years of Sacred Heart Education at Fenham. This was such an exciting milestone for the whole Sacred Heart Community. Thousands of young women have been educated in our schools and many have trained as teachers in the training college.
By 1905, a small community of sisters had already settled in Carlisle and then moved to Gosforth to start teacher training and open a small boarding and day school. It was on 11th November 1905 that a small private secondary school was established in Fenham Hall catering for those able to pay for the privilege. The school opened with 60 pupils, two training college students and the religious community. By 1920 the school was granting scholarships to able girls and after 1945 virtually all the girls were scholarship students.
Prior to the school becoming comprehensive in 1977, the Society had established upon the Fenham Campus both a Grammar School and a Secondary School, which enabled a wider number of girls to benefit from the philosophy of Sacred Heart Education.
Under the 1980 Education Act, provision for Catholic girls of all abilities from outside the city was made available. Today the school provides a high quality education for over 1300 girls between the ages of eleven and eighteen. Between 1977 to 2005 the buildings of the school were on two sites. Students from Year 9 upwards were housed in the buildings on Fenham Hall Drive while the Lower School, situated on Lewis Drive, catered for students in Years 7 and 8. We were delighted that in the summer of 2005 new state of the art buildings were completed to allow us to house everyone on the Fenham Hall Drive site.
Our foundress, St Madeleine Sophie Barat said that she would have founded the society ‘for the sake of one child’. How remarkable that this wonderful spirit of care for each child coupled with excellent standards of education for young women is very evident today, one hundred years after the foundation of the school at Fenham. To celebrate our centenary, past and present pupils, staff, Sacred Heart Sisters and Friends of the school attended an Open Day on Saturday 12th November 2005.