St. Marks R.C School

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St Mark's Catholic School is a coeducational Roman Catholic secondary school and sixth form with academy status, situated in Hounslow, West London, England.

School History

The original idea for a mixed Catholic secondary school in Hounslow came from Fr. (later Canon) Musgrave in 1936. He was the Parish Priest of SS Michael and Martin’s Church but his plans were delayed by the Second World War.

In 1952, two sites were offered, one near Green Lane and the second at 106 Bath Road which included an Orchard. Canon Musgrave died in 1955 and it was under his successor, Canon John Mackenzie, that building work began in 1958.

The School was to be known as Archbishop Myers’ Secondary School and was to accommodate 450 pupils. The first 279 arrived on 10 May 1960 and were welcomed by Headteacher Mr Patrick Boland and 11 staff. The builders remained until April 1961 and the School was officially opened in March 1962.

In 1972 the School became a Comprehensive and changed its name to St. Mark’s. The uniform changed from maroon to navy blue. Originally six forms of entry were planned with a split site – a Senior School located at the other end of Hounslow High Street. These plans were dropped and in 1978 the buildings of the old SS Michael and Martin’s Primary School were included in the enlarged St. Mark’s site. The original Parish Church dating from 1886 became a Sixth Form Common Room.

Patrick Boland retired in 1978 and was replaced by Mr Patrick Topp. St. Mark’s contained 800 pupils and 50 teachers. Mr Topp was succeeded by Mr David Sheath in 1986 and the School’s popularity continued to grow. By the time of Mr. Sheath’s retirement the School was recognised as one of the best in the London area. Current Headteacher Mr. Paul Enright took over in 2001. The School now has over 1,200 students and examination results are excellent.


Each year the School admits 186 pupils in to Year 7. There are six forms of entry. The School also admits external students in to the Sixth Form. There are currently 1233 students at St. Mark’s.


In January 2009 Ofsted graded St. Mark’s School as outstanding in every category. Inspectors stated “The school has achieved a near perfect balance of ensuring that pupils make great progress and attain high standards but at the same time develop into well-rounded, independent, caring, courteous and upright citizens.” They commented that “There is a delightful atmosphere in the school. This is a place where the individual is valued, individual strengths are celebrated and where pupils are proud to do well.” The report noted that “Parents themselves are overwhelmingly positive about the School. They comment that their children are happy and that they thoroughly enjoy school… The behaviour of pupils is a strength.”

The Diocesan inspection of the school which took place at the same time also graded the school outstanding in every category. Inspectors stated that “St. Mark’s Catholic School provides an outstanding education.” They observed that “As a Catholic community the school promotes a growth of faith that is founded on a high calibre of prayer, liturgy and religious education."

The School’s examination results rank St. Mark’s among the best comprehensive schools in the country. In summer 2010 82% of students achieved 5+ A*-C GCSE grades including English and Mathematics, the best total in Hounslow Local Authority for the second year running. At ‘A’ Level over 80% of grades were A*-C and over a hundred students gained places at University including Oxbridge and Medical/Dentistry/Performing Arts Schools.Template:Citation needed

Catholic life

Assemblies are an integral part of school life where the community joins together to pray and celebrate publicly the individual achievements of the pupils. There is Mass at breaktime every Thursday. All students are invited and classes take it in turns to prepare the liturgy. There is also a programme of retreats, opportunities for prayer and meditation in school and a music liturgy group. The school is outreaching and supports a range of local, national and international charities.

School Curriculum

When pupils start at St. Mark’s they are assigned to mixed ability tutor groups. They remain in the same tutor group until they finish Year 11. St. Mark’s uses a combination of setting and mixed ability teaching to deliver the curriculum. This gives pupils the best chance to achieve their full potential. Classes are set in Mathematics from Year 7, Languages from Year 8 and there is some broad banding in Science from the end of Year 9.

Class sizes are reduced in a number of subjects in Year 7 to aid teaching and learning. This means there are six tutor groups but these are often divided into eight teaching groups.

At Key Stage 3, pupils at St. Mark’s follow a wide curriculum: Religious Education, English, Mathematics, Science, Geography, History, ICT, Technology, Music, Drama, Art, Physical Education, PSHCE, Modern Foreign Languages and Learning for Learning.

At Key Stage 4 all pupils study Religious Education, English, English Literature, Physical Education (core), Mathematics, Science, whether separate or combined, PSHCE and a Technology based subject. The vast majority continue with a Modern Foreign Language and pupils can choose from ICT, Art, Business Studies, Drama, Geography, History, Physical Education, ASDAN, Child Development and Music.

There are a number of alternative pathways for a limited amount of pupils linked to attendance at college for part of the week. These include construction, hair and beauty, food, sports management and mechanics.

Staff use a variety of teaching methods so that pupils can develop a range of learning styles. Lessons are differentiated and carefully planned to cater for the needs of all pupils. The school is well equipped with the latest ICT facilities including a wireless network, laptops, thirteen computer suites, a recording studio and interactive whiteboards.

Sixth form

The School offers a wide range of over 25 subjects at AS and A level: Art, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Classical Civilisations, Critical Thinking, Drama, English Literature, Economics, Film Studies, French, German, Government and Politics, Geography, History, ICT, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Media Studies, Music, Physics, Product Design, Psychology, Religious Education, Sociology, Sports Studies, Textiles. In addition the School offers a two year vocational course. Through the Catholic Consortium links with Gumley House School and Gunnersbury School, the School is able to offer students an even wider range of combinations of subjects.

The School focus on supporting students to become independent, confident learners, skilled to meet the challenges of the 21st-century.Template:Citation needed Sixth formers are supported in their learning by a Form Tutor and the sixth form management team of Student Progress Leaders of Year 12 and 13 and Head of Sixth Form. From the first week students, parents and teachers are made aware of the minimum academic targets expected.

St. Mark’s has a dedicated Sixth Form Block. This includes a supervised study room and common room. They also use the Learning Resources Centre and ICT facilities.

Sixth Formers make a significant contribution to the life of the school. All sixth formers act as ambassadors for the community of St. Mark’s. Sixth Form students in Year 12 have the opportunity to support younger students in their learning through paired reading or in-class support, to raise money for Christmas presents for children in care, to organise community events and to support projects in the developing world. Students also participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and a range of educational visits and field trips.

Extracurricular activities

Students’ education at St. Mark’s is enriched by a wide range of activities occurring both after school and during lunchtime. These change with the time of year and the particular interests of staff and pupils. Field trips, visits abroad, visits to the theatre and museums, and Year Group outings are established parts of the extra-curricular life of the school.

Regular extra-curricular sporting activities include basketball, badminton, football, athletics, cricket, rugby, tennis, hockey and netball.

The choir, orchestra, dance group, and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme group meet weekly after school. The chess club meets at lunchtime. The House System has a variety of competitions which take place each term including debating, talent shows, cake decorating, quiz competition and a variety of sporting events.

The School Production each year provides opportunities for dancing, signing and playing musical instruments.

The School also runs an annual ski trip and there are opportunities for public speaking and business experience. It organises a range of charitable, fund raising events and have a special link with Zethobile School in South Africa.

Homework Club is supervised by teaching staff and provides a friendly working atmosphere.Template:Citation needed

Notable former pupils

  • Elvis Costello – Internationally acclaimed songwriter and musician.
  • Denys Baptiste – Award winning saxophonist.
  • Tim Don – World Triathlon Champion and Olympian.
  • Dean Gaffney – Actor.
  • Graham Stack – Professional footballer (Hibernian).
  • Michael Mancienne – Professional footballer (Chelsea/Wolves).
  • Coz Kerrigan - Musician (Larrikin Love / K)



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