A new chapter has begun for St Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy after pupils and staff moved into their new home just over six months after their school was destroyed by a fire.
The whole school has moved into St James’s House, in Derby, where they will stay for up to two years while a new building is constructed on St Mary’s Broadway site.
Since the arson attack in October 2020, the school had been split across two sites, at Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy in Duffield Road and the Diocesan Centre and Christ the King Church in Mackworth.
Amanda Greaves, Executive Head at St Mary’s, said she was thrilled to have the school back together under one roof.
She said: “To be back together again just means everything. Staff, children and families have had to endure so much since the fire, so to be reunited under one roof means so much.
“St James’s House gives us a sense of permanence and stability and this move is just going to lift the whole community, which continues to grow and thrive. We are all absolutely delighted.
“The original school was founded just across the river on Edward Street in 1814 so there is a feeling of ‘coming home’. It’s a very special day for the whole St Mary’s community.”
Bella Atkin, Year One and Two class teacher, said she could not wait to see the children’s faces when they arrived. She said: “It just feels incredible. The last few months have been challenging as we’ve been split across two sites but being together again will be amazing. I am looking forward to having my own classroom again. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to see the children’s faces when they come through the door.”
Sean McClafferty, Chief Executive of the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust, said he was delighted for the St Mary’s community.
He said: “The support that St Mary’s has received since the fire has been incredible and this is a new chapter for the school now. We are all very excited to see pupils and staff reunited and we would like to thank everyone who has helped to make this move a reality. It’s a very special day that we’ve been looking forward to for a long time.”
Jacqueline Rodden, Trust Chair, thanked everyone who had worked behind the scenes on the move to St James’s House.
She said: “We are so excited, it’s the first time in six months that the children will be together under one roof. I was lucky enough to go into the building last week and it just looks amazing. The teachers and staff have worked so hard to get it ready.
“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved, staff, parents, the trust, the diocese and the wider community. It’s just been a huge effort and I’m really looking forward to seeing how everyone settles in.”
Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 at St Mary’s were based at Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy in Duffield Road, Derby.
Children in Nursery, Reception, Years 1 and 2 were based at the Diocesan Centre in Mornington Crescent, Mackworth and the neighbouring Christ the King Catholic Church.
Picture: St Mary’s pupils were full of smiles.