We opened in 1976 as a purpose built middle school and quickly established a reputation as a happy, friendly and caring Catholic school which provided quality education. Today we are proud to maintain this reputation, catering for children of all abilities. In September 2008 we were designated as a Specialist Arts College in music, art and drama which has enabled us to build on the many strengths which already existed in our arts provision.
We are situated in a very pleasant part of Hexham and have extensive playing fields which are used for a variety of sporting activities including: soccer, hockey, rounders, rugby and athletics. We also have two playgrounds which are also used for sporting activities.
The main building has been extended in recent years and we also have two mobile classrooms which were recently refurbished to a high standard in summer 2015. Specialist areas within the school are all well-equipped and fit for purpose with up to date ICT provision and include: a computer room; a science laboratory; a design technology room; a food technology room; art room and a music room.
At St Joseph’s we believe that if children read regularly it helps them to accelerate their learning across the curriculum. Therefore, we actively encourage reading and have a well stocked library that is open daily for pupils to use.
We have three classes per year group with an average class size of 28 children and we have a very dedicated and hard working staff who fully embrace the aims of the school. Where possible the children are taught by specialists, particularly in the core subjects of maths, science and English. For those children who are identified as having special educational needs we have specialist staff who can give them some individual attention, thus helping them cope with the demands of the National Curriculum.
In addition we have a whole school policy for more able children. These children are identified as part of the close liaison with our feeder first schools and by teacher assessment. Like all the children they are given work appropriate for their ability.
We are extremely proud of our reputation as a centre of sporting excellence. We have school teams competing in a whole range of sports with several children going on to represent the school at area level. Extra-curricular sporting activities include dance, soccer, rugby, netball, hockey, rounders, cricket, cross-country and basketball.
Music is a very important aspect of our school life. This year we have two orchestras (Y5/6 and Y7/8), a choir, string group, jazz group, guitar group and drum club. The school orchestras started the year with about 35 members but with about half of the school learning to play an instrument we expect them to both increase in size by the end of the year. The orchestras, choir and other ensembles perform in school concerts as well as in community events like the Tynedale Music Festival. We have a music practice room which is in constant use during the school day.
Drama is also an important curricular area to us as an Arts College. We stage biennial whole school productions at the Queen's Hall, Hexham and we have recently forged a partnership with the Tyne Valley Youth Theatre and Cheryl’s Starrz. We have held an Arts Week at school for the past six years and this gives the children the opportunity to experience a wide range of workshops led by either our staff or visiting professionals.
There are regular trips and residential educational visits organised for the children. They include: a ski trip to the French Alps, a trip to Northern France, a trip to Amsterdam and to an outdoor centre in Northumberland.
Since achieving the Eco Schools Silver Award in 2007 for recycling and saving energy we continue to take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. We are about to begin a whole school project to further promote environmental issues to support Pope Francis’ ‘action now’ to save our planet from environmental ruin.
We always encourage our children to do their best, whatever their ability and we expect the highest standards in all aspects of school life. This expectation is supported by a very active and effective home-school partnership.
Visitors and parents comment upon the unique, friendly atmosphere that exists at St. Joseph's so please feel free to contact the school if you wish to make a visit and experience the school at work and see that we are at the cutting edge of tradition.
Since 2000 we have gained several prestigious national awards as we strive for excellence in all aspects of school life.
DfES Achievement Award 2000
Investors in People 2002; renewed 2005; renewed 2008; renewed 2011
Healthy Schools Award 2004; renewed 2007; renewed 2011
British Council International School Award 2004; renewed 2007; renewed 2010
Leading Aspect Award 2006
Eco Schools Bronze Award 2007
Eco Schools Silver Award 2007
Artsmark Silver Award 2008
Specialist Arts College 2008
Artsmark Gold Award 2010
Young Enterprise Centre of Excellence Award 2011
SaBRE Supportive Employer Award 2013
Investors in People (Bronze Award) 2014
Association for Citizenship Teaching Award 2014