When a family names a newborn, much energy, deliberation and discussion are expended prior to making the final choice. Family history, contemporary culture, personal likes and dislikes and the meaning behind the name may all play a part. Sometimes consideration is given to how the child will ‘grow’ into the name.
In a similar way, when a new school is named, careful consideration is given to how this name will befit the community and the purpose of the place. St Bede was chosen for our new secondary college after considerable consultation and discernment. Parishioners were given the opportunity to contribute as were some of the parents of students at St Aloysius, Chisholm and Our Lady of Lourdes, Tarro. A shortlist of preferred names was presented to Bishop Bill and St Bede emerged as the preferred choice.
So, who was Bede and why would we choose to name a school after him? Well, he is considered the first and only Doctor of the Church in England and is regarded as a most learned scholar. He was born in the seventh century and educated in a Benedictine community. He became a deacon, then a priest, and lived in the North of England in Jarrow. Bede was a prolific writer, completing over 60 books. His most famous work is The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. In addition, he wrote poetry, historical works and texts on theology, science, cosmology and music.
Bede was considered a most apt choice for the name of a school where learning − and more particularly, learning characterised by the Catholic tradition, culture and spirit − is the reason for its existence.
St Bede’s, like Bede himself, will be a college that inspires students to excel in their learning across all fields of endeavour, including the sciences and mathematics, but also in creative pursuits such as the arts and humanities. Bede will be the symbol and example for our students to follow, where hard work and persistence across a range of academic pursuits will be encouraged and nurtured. We hope students at St Bede’s will aspire to be learners who are self-directed, interested in learning for its own sake and as interested in science and astronomy as they are in literature, music and poetry.
Equally importantly, Bede was known to be a man of gentleness and moderation. These qualities provide a wonderful basis on which to build the character of a new school community. Now more than ever, we need to instil in young people a sense of gentleness of spirit and heart, for themselves and also for others.
St Bede’s will be a vibrant community school where a real sense of belonging and spirit is fostered. The vision for St Bede’s is a school where commitment to social justice and community outreach is apparent in word and action. St Bede’s will encourage collaborative, team-based learning within a contemporary learning environment. Students will be encouraged to make links with their learning, locally and globally, and to develop partnerships with community members.
The school will boast a beautiful, flexible design aesthetic, where learning spaces can be adapted and changed to meet the challenges of the day. We want St Bede’s students to be passionate and committed to their learning.
Not only is St Bede a most appropriate choice for a place of learning, it also represents an opportunity to embrace and remember the original permanent church in Morpeth, St Bede’s. This church was built in 1870. Archbishop Bede Polding visited the Diocese of Maitland in the 1840s and perhaps, was the inspiration for the naming of this church.
Bishop Bill is delighted with the choice of St Bede as a name for our new secondary school.
“Bede is a wonderful choice as both a name and an inspiration for our new college at Chisholm,” said Bishop Bill. “St Bede’s story is one of faithfulness, academic endeavour and gentleness of heart. Students will have much to gain from aspiring to the qualities St Bede modelled.”
As the community of Chisholm grows, alongside it and in harmony with it, St Bede’s too will grow and flourish.
St Bede’s Catholic College will be situated next to St Aloysius Catholic Primary School which opened in 2015.
St Aloysius already has an enrolment of more than 200 students, and is expected to grow into a three-stream primary school. Interest in St Bede’s Catholic College is already strong. The school will eventually cater for approximately 1,100 students and will have state of the art buildings, facilities and recreation areas.
Craig Wattam is Assistant Director, Catholic Schools Office. Initial expressions of interest for enrolment in 2018 can be made by contacting Ms Anne Atkins, P 4979 1331 or by visiting the Catholic Schools Office website.