College HistoryA Brief History of Bellerive FCJ Catholic College
The first FCJ school opened at number 3, Great George’s Square, offering instruction in ‘Geography, use of globes, Botany, History, Writing, Arithmetic and French and Italian languages.’ The Foundress wished to establish a boarding school, partly to finance the work among the poor of the city and partly as a means ‘of doing good among those who would be in a position to influence others later on.’
Bellerive was bought and the school moved to Princes Park.
Culmore was purchased. The first of many Fancy Dress Balls took place, the Sisters believed such events helped the boarders overcome their homesickness.
The underground passage was built. A litigious neighbour had no wish to see Religious Sisters moving across Windermere Terrace!
Bellerive was granted recognition status and received its first grant from the Board of Education.
Silvermere was purchased. It was used for the senior pupils, Culmore for the juniors and Bellerive as dormitories.
Thus even the boarders had a sense of going home at the end of the day.
Many pupils were evacuated, the day pupils to Chester and the boarders to Skipton, but the day pupils returned after Christmas.
A high explosive bomb blasted Pollard’s Garage (later called Cubbin and North) and blew out many of Bellerive’s windows. Incendiary bombs set fire to the roofs of Bellerive and Culmore.
Elmfield was purchased (423 were attending Bellerive)
The Boarding School was reopened but only for twelve years.
There were 54 in the Sixth Form. Science labs had been installed in Elmfield.
Expansion from two to three form entry.
New block in Elmfield site to provide kitchens, a dining hall and a Domestic service area.
The Anglican Nuns moved and St. Gabriel’s convent, next door to Culmore, was bought for the use of the community. The preparatory school was closed.
The Science laboratories and lecture theatre were built on to the dining hall block on the Elmfield site. The community made Mount St. Joseph available as a teaching area.
Bellerive became part of St Mary’s RC High School in the general reorganisation of Catholic senior schools in Liverpool. St Mary’s lower school was based at the St. Margaret Clitherow site and the upper school at the Bellerive site. 1300 pupils in school.
St. Mary’s bows to pressure and is renamed Bellerive FCJ
The school moves onto a single site after refurbishment and new buildings are added to the upper school site. A new building on the main site houses Mathematics and IT suites. A new Technology and Art block is built on land behind Culmore and six new laboratories are created in the Elmfield buildings. Teaching areas in the buildings are refurbished. The Sixth Form moves to Silvermere where a new entrance is created.
The FCJ community moves from St. Gabriel’s convent.
The school is awarded a DfES achievement award in recognition of examination results.
A new playground is created on land previously owned by Cubbin and North garage. Bellerive gains a second achievement award. (870 pupils in school.)
A subway under Ullet Road, linking Elmfield grounds to Bellerive and the underground link, (created in 1908) is completed.
Bellerive is awarded Science College status. A third achievement award is gained.
Sister Brigid, Headteacher, is awarded the ‘Headteacher of the Year in the North-West’ by the Teaching Awards Council.
Bellerive is recognised by the DfCSF as a high performing school (82% of year 11 in this non-selective school gained 5 or more A* to C grades at GCSE) and is invited to take on a second specialism. The College successfully bids for the Maths and Computing specialism.
In November the school is inspected by both OFSTED and the Archdiocese and is given the highest rating of ‘Outstanding’ by both.
Sister Brigid, Headteacher, is awarded an OBE in the New Years Honours list for her services to education.
As a high performing school, the College is invited to bid for, and wins a third specialism.
The Applied Learning specialism supports the learning experience of pupils across the school.
As an outstanding school, Bellerive is invited by the DofE to become a Voluntary Converter Academy. The status is gained on June 1st 2012. In the same month, Section 5 and 48 inspections judged Bellerive to be ‘outstanding’ in 5 of the 8 categories and good in the remaining. 904 pupils on roll.
A new Hall is built on the main Bellerive site. It is named ‘Marie Madeleine Hall’, after the foundress of the fcJ Sisters.
The extension to Elmfield was completed, which has given a new classroom block and science labs.
Work was completed on the new Sixth Form building and work begins on a new technology, dining and science building.