St Mark’s West Essex Catholic School is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this academic year and, as part of the celebrations, Bishop Alan Williams SM visited the school on 5th May to celebrate Mass for Years 7 & 8 and to meet staff, governors and pupils. He also met members of the Student Council and Student Liturgy Group (above).
St Mark’s opened on 8 September 1965 and a series of events have been taking place since September 2015 to celebrate this milestone in the school’s history.
The original cohort of 100 pupils and six staff, under the leadership of the founding headteacher Anthony O’Shea MC BA, was housed in temporary accommodation on the site of Holy Cross School, as the building work was not completed in time. On 7th January 1966 the doors opened at the Tripton Road site.
Mr O’Shea was passionate about comprehensive education and his vision was to provide an excellent education for young people of all abilities in an environment where their personal faith could be supported and nurtured. Fifty years and three headteachers later, there are 1,000 pupils on roll and this original vision for the school is one shared by the current staff and governors of St Mark’s.
Headteacher Elaine Heaphy said: “This is a significant year for St Mark’s and we are delighted, and thankful, that Bishop Alan was able to celebrate Mass with us for our 50th anniversary; his visit to the school made it an extra special occasion.”