History & Vision at St Matthew’s Catholic Primary School
St. Matthew’s has been serving the local Catholic population of the surrounding area since 7th August 1876 when the original ‘Prudhoe RC School’ was just along the road on West Road! The school was opened by the Bishop for Hexham and Newcastle at the time and it was a momentous occasion for the areas Catholics who finally had a school to send their children. The original school was open for 106 years before closing in 1977, construction then began of our current school, christened St. Matthew’s after the saint, but perhaps also due to its patronage from its founder, Matthew Liddle. The foundation school of our current school was laid on 10th September 1982.
In approx. 2004 St. Matthew’s added a Nursery building onto the site, which allowed the already existing ‘St Matthew’s Toddler and Preschool’ to move into our school community, this was under the advice of Fr Paul Zielinski of Our Lady and St Cuthberts Church. The Nursery fit right in with our school and the partnership flourished for our children moving into Reception.
After receiving the extension of the Nursery, St. Matthew’s received numerous other extensions to it’s building and interior to allow us to become a primary school in September 2008, this helped our parents as it allowed us to link directly with our feeder school St Thomas More, Blaydon and allowed us to have a more cohesive link with them. Our school has flourished since and the pupil numbers have slowly risen higher and higher from the original school’s 57 cohort. The extensions have helped us keep up with the surrounding areas need for a nurturing and caring catholic school.
On 1st April 2015, our school became an academy and joined the ‘St Thomas More Partnership of Schools’, a trust consisting of our feeder school, St Thomas More, Blaydon as well as another Catholic primary school, Sacred Heart, Byermoor. This change proved one of the biggest for our school as it has given the teaching staff greater freedom and access to excellent training and sharing of good practice amongst these other schools.
On 1st April 2020, St. Matthew’s became part of the Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust. It is envisaged that the trust will grow as large as 48 schools by July 2022. This transition was part of a diocese wide Academy Policy. We are very excited to be working within the new trust and having had lots of experience as part of a smaller trust, we feel well placed to add lots of value to Bishop Wilkinson CET moving forwards.
At present, our school now has 156 children (more than double the original school!) and we now have 6 classes and a Nursery unit. We are proud of our history here at St. Matthew’s as we realise our school has been such a huge part of the community for 145 years. The heart and aim of our school is centred in the teachings of the Gospel and to create a caring and inclusive community for all children in our area.
“Let my Lifesong sing to you”
At St. Matthew’s we encourage all members of our school community to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. We talk about our life journey as our ‘Lifesong’ and we encourage each other to live out the message of Jesus through ‘the words we say and the things we do.’