About our school
St Bede's was formed in 1976 as an amalgamation of Bishop Simpson (CofE) School and St Joseph's (RC) School. We benefit from the support of the Arundel and Brighton Catholic Diocese and the Southwark Anglican Diocese.
In 1992, the local free churches became partners of the school giving us our unique ecumenical nature.
Our mission is to be a Christian school that seeks to appreciate and develop the talents and skills of each individual, inspired by the love of Christ and his teaching. Walking in the footsteps of St Bede, we endeavour to create an active partnership with home, church and the wider community, in order to prepare our students to face the future with confidence and take up the challenge of the gospel.
Ethos, aims and values
Life at St Bede's reflects the strong common Christian faith that all partners share, but also values and celebrates the differences between us. We know, from our daily experience, that diversity enriches us. We learn from other traditions, but we also appreciate our own tradition more deeply. There is room to grow and develop - to seek and explore one's own relationship to faith and to Christ, but within an inclusive community which works hard to value and appreciate everyone, without ever losing sight of the common faith in Christ.
This approach, as you would expect, is reflected in worship, in religious education and in spiritual development. It is very clearly seen in the Chaplaincy team and the work that we do together.
Learning at St Bede's
We believe that God has given every one of us many gifts. It is our job to discover these gifts and talents in every student and to develop them to bear much fruit. St Bede’s has an extremely strong track record of learning.
We believe that learning is important and valuable in itself, as well as creating opportunities in later life. We know that students like to learn, and that they enjoy an atmosphere in which they learn well.
We believe in academic excellence and we believe in excellence in all fields - whether sport, performance, art or personal development.
A caring environment
St Bede’s is a cheerful, friendly place in which everyone can feel at home and give of their best. We insist on the highest standards of good behaviour, mutual respect and concern and because we expect all students to take responsibility for themselves and for others. We support this with a high level of pastoral care and support (including specialist services) for any student who needs it.
Ofsted graded this aspect of our work “outstanding” and referred to much “exemplary” practice.
The heart of this community are our year groups. In the main school, each year group has ten tutors led by a Head of Year. This team rolls through: receiving the students in Year 7 and working with them to learn, grow and achieve right through to Year 11. The sixth form also has a strong tutor team, led by an Assistant Head and a lead tutor for Years 12 and 13.
St Bede’s opened in September 1976 as the World’s first joint Church of England and Roman Catholic School (founded at the same time as St Cuthbert Maine school in Plymouth). With the support of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops, St Joseph’s RC Secondary School and Bishop Simpson Church of England Girls’ School united to become the single Church Secondary school for the area.
Always seeking to develop, St Bede’s moved to welcome children from Free Church families as well as Anglicans and Roman Catholics. Local Free Churches are represented on our Governing Body, making us the only “officially” fully ecumenical Church school in the world. We are the only educational establishment to be formally recognised as a local ecumenical project by Churches Together in England.
In November 1988, the Bishops laid the foundation stone for new buildings that would bring all the school onto its present site (until then, part of the school was on Frenches Road). During 1999 the school saw a further major building programme to provide new accommodation for science and to refurbish large parts of the school, providing new facilities for ICT, the library, careers, as well as new classrooms to allow subjects to be taught in “suites” of adjacent rooms. Autumn 2004 saw the opening of a £4.5 million arts building that houses music, drama, and art along with textiles, food, health and social, media and graphics, all in the most modern, spacious and excellent specialist facilities. This project produced further refurbishment in existing buildings for the sixth form, learning support and other subjects.
A high quality sports hall, which includes excellent fitness and dance/aerobics studios opened in September 2006 providing, for the first time, good PE and sports facilities for a school of this size. More than half of the cost of this £1.5M project, and a substantial contribution to the arts centre, was raised by parents and friends of the school through the “Building St Bede’s” appeal which raised over £800,000. We were able to redevelop the main hall and sixth form common room area in 2010 and build two dance studios and storage next to the sports hall. The studios opened in September 2012.