The Catholic diocese has unveiled the name of the newest secondary school in the Hunter – St Bede’s Catholic College.
The school will open in 2018 at Chisholm, next to St Aloysius Catholic Primary.
Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle Bill Wright, Director of Catholic Schools Ray Collins, Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore and freeman of the city Milton Morris unveiled the foundation stone over the sound of construction in the expanding housing estate on Tuesday morning.
Like it’s host suburb, the school is designed to meet the growing demands for infrastructure in the Maitland area.
The school’s construction was one of 12 recommendations from the Study into the Provision of Secondary Education by the Catholic Schools Office (CSO) last year.
It will eventually cater for approximately 1100 students.
“We’ve had increasing demand in the Maitland area for Catholic education in both primary and secondary,” Mr Collins said.
“We’ve met the need for primary with St Aloysius but, over the next 20 to 30 years we’ll look at [building] other primary schools.
“But those primary students need to go on to secondary schools, and our secondary schools here are basically full.
“They’ve had significant waiting lists for a number of years.
“This is the first step toward addressing that.”
Cr Blackmore said it was critical to support the new families moving to the region.
“We have five new people making Maitland their home each day, that represents a family each day,” he said.
“We have four Catholic high schools in this area but, with the merger with Dungog, they don’t have any, so we’ll have people travelling from other areas for Catholic education.
Bishop Wright said Bede, an English monk and scholar dubbed “the father English history”, would be an inspiring symbol for future students.
“St Bede’s story is one of faithfulness, academic endeavour and gentleness of heart,” he said.
The Bishop said that while St Bede might seem like a character from a distant time and place, the first permanent church in Morpeth, built in 1870, was named in the saint’s honour.
Parent and student representatives from two local Catholic primary schools who will form part of the first Year 7 cohort were also in attendance.
Information sessions for parents will be announced on a new Facebook page called Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Schools.
Initial expressions of interest for enrolment in 2018 can be made by contacting Ms Anne Atkins, on 4979 1331.