Archive centreCarlisle
ReferenceDS 202
Alternative ref.DS 5754
TitleSt Catherine's Roman Catholic School, Penrith
DescriptionDeposited at Cumbria Record Office, The Castle, Carlisle by Miss C Long, Head Teacher, St Catherine's R C School, Penrith, 17 Oct 1986.

The earliest surviving record of this school, situated near to St Catherine's R C Church in Drovers Lane, dates from May 1876 when it became a public elementary school under the Education Act, 1870. It is not clear whether there had been a R C school previously. The school was a mixed one, including infants, with about 40-50 pupils in the late 1870s, rising to about 70 in 1899, in which year it was enlarged and divided to provide a separate classroom for the infants.

By 1937 there were about 100 children in three classes in 2 rooms and H M Inspector reported that 'juniors and seniors are packed closely together in an undivided room'. By 1954 the situation was a little easier as there were only 73 pupils (27 infants, 28 juniors and 18 seniors) in 3 classes, each with an approximately 3 year age range. Although there were still only 2 classrooms the infants were taught in the church hall.

In September 1955 the senior pupils were transferred to the new Tynefield Secondary Modern School, leaving St Catherine's School with 74 children organised in 1 infant and 2 junior classes, each with a 2 year age range. During the 1960s and the 1970s the roll steadily increased, reaching 100 by January 1972, when there were 2 infant and 2 junior classes and 137 pupils in July 1979, when the children were organised in 5 classes (Reception, Transition and 3 junior classes). Thereafter the roll fell to between 100 and 110.
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