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History of our School

The History of St Cuthbert's

The beginnings

The school was started by Rev John Preedy in August 1945, in the Social Hall, Harvest Road as a direct result of the last war. Two Roman Catholic schools, St Joseph's of Camberwell and St Bernard's of Stepney, were evacuated to Englefield Green during the early part of the war and jointly held their classes in the Social Hall. Many of the parents moved into the district and when the schools went home towards the end of the war, many families remained behind. It was then that Father Preedy took the opportunity to start a school. It was named St Cuthbert's and was held, like its predecessors, in the Social Hall. The first day of school was 20 August 1945. 71 children were on roll, with ages ranging from 5 years 2 weeks, to two months short of 14 years. 38 of the children on roll were originally evacuees to Englefield Green.

The Marist Sisters

In 1949 the Marist nuns came to Sunninghill and agreed to help Father Preedy by supplying teachers for the school. 

On 2 September 1947, Sisters Pauline, Roger and Melissa came to St Cuthbert's. Sister Pauline left in 1948 for Canada and was succeeded by Sister M Luke until July 1949 when Sister Teresita took charge with Sisters Roger and Enda as assistants.

There were 67 children on roll when the Marist Sisters took charge. In 1956 the school was reorganised and became a primary school. The senior children transferred to the new Catholic Secondary School of St Thomas the Apostle in Chertsey. Sister M Kevin was appointed Headmistress to succeed Sister Teresita. Sister Teresita, Sisters Bernard, Enda and Amelia were on the staff. Sister Berenice later replaced Sister Amelia.

The move to Bagshot Road

After many years of trying, the building of a new school was scheduled in the County's 1962 building programme. The site in Bagshot Road was purchased from Crown Lands. In March 1962, Archard and Partners, London architects, designed the school, initially consisting of five classrooms, an assembly hall, cloakroom, staffroom, office, medical room and headteacher's office. Bell and Co, Westminster, were awarded the building contract and began work on 19 April 1962. A year later on 10 April 1963 saw the last day of school in the Social hall as the new school was ready for occupation when the children returned after the Easter holiday on 29 April 1963.

Sister Mary Kevin's retirement

The school went from strength to strength over the years. Many overseas residential trips were made. Strong links with the parish were maintained, including participation in the annual Crowning of the Virgin Mary procession. In 1974, the school's founder, Canon Preedy, moved from Englefield Green, and was replaced by a new parish priest, Fr Vann. In the school, additional classrooms and a kitchen were built. When Sister Mary Kevin retired in 1979, over 400 past pupils, parents and friends attended her leaving party. Sister Olivia Hunt succeeded Sister Mary Kevin as headteacher - a post she held for 10 years.

Mrs Reynolds becomes Headteacher

Mrs Reynolds became the school's headteacher in 1990. The school continued to grow and flourish, with the achievements of teachers and children being recognised with an outstanding OFSTED report. Mrs Hebbert retired after 25 years as a teacher at the school. When Mrs Reynolds left the school in 1998 it was to become Director of Schools for the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

Mrs Jones becomes Headteacher

Mrs Jones succeeded Mrs Reynolds as headteacher. The school also welcomed a new Parish Priest, Father David Maskell, succeeding Canon Brian O'Sullivan who moved on to a new parish. A new library was built and an outdoor classroom. The outdoor classroom formed part of a wider grounds development programme, which also included the planting of an orchard. Children attended a special parish Mass in their school uniform as Bishop Cormac Murphey-O'Connor came to visit the Parish. Children from the school enjoyed an increasing amount of sporting competition, including success in the 1999 District Athletics Championships. Trophies were also won for achievement in literacy, and for effective partnership with industry. Mrs Wilder, Deputy Headteacher, left the school to take up a headship, and was succeeded by Mrs Gilmour.  

Sister Julia Lanaghan O.D.N. suceeds Mrs Jones

Mrs Jones left the school in 2001 and was succeeded by Sister Julia Lanaghan O.D.N.. Sporting activities have continued, and in 2001, many children from the school gained District representative honours, representing Runnymede in the Surrey Youth Games. Important occasions during Sister Julia's time as Acting Head included a visit from Bishop Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, on 12 December 2001. 

Mrs Wilder returns to St. Cuthberts as Headteacher

In January 2002, after two terms with Sr Julia as acting- headteacher, Mrs Wilder, who had previously been at St Cuthbert's as Deputy Headteacher, returned to the school to take up the Headship. The school made the news in December 2003, having achieved Runnymede's highest average points score in Key Stage 2 assessments, and the third highest score in the whole of Surrey.

Mrs Gillin takes the reins

With the retirment of Mrs Wilder at Christmas 2012, Mrs Gillin was appointed Headteacher from New Year's Day 2013.  She very quickly put her own stamp on the school, rearranging the senior leadership team and building close ties with parents, staff and the governing body. Mrs Gillin retired in August 2023.

75th Anniversary

St Cuthbert’s School celebrated it's 75 year anniversary  in August 2020.   

We had been planning a year of outward-looking celebrations, giving thanks for our school community.  Due to Covid we were unable to put on all the planned events, however, we were still able to reflect and be thankful.  

This is particularly apt given that the school was founded in the Social Hall on Harvest Road as a result of two East End Catholic schools being evacuated to Englefield Green during World War II.

Low key celebrations for VE Day have taken place and television and media coverage included stories on the horrors of war and of evacuees. 38 of the 71 children on the first St Cuthbert's register were former evacuees from London; their parents moved to Englefield Green when the war ended. 

Above is a lovely picture of St Cuthbert's children from the early days (late 1950s) outside the Church of the Assumption (thanks to Jim McLean via Facebook).