Dukinfield school reaches Big 5-0
The second half of the 2012-13 Academic Year came to a close in style at All Saints Catholic College. To celebrate its fiftieth birthday, the Dukinfield school hosted a fun day from 11am to 2pm. There was side shows, a bouncy castle and tours around All Saints Catholic College itself. Other attractions included displays from the Air Cadets and St. John’s Ambulance.
All Saints Catholic College opened in March 1963 and accepted its first pupils in September of the same year. It was originally known as St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s and opened as a Secondary Modern school. The school’s first headmaster was Hugo Brennan, prior to his succession in 1976 with Thomas Atkinson, and in 1994 by Michael Bourke. At the time, most of what is now the Tameside area had the Eleven Plus examination.
Secondary education was determined on the success or failure of the Eleven Plus’ Transfer Test examinations. In Dukinfield, those who passed would attend a local grammar school, such as Astley Grammar, Lakes Road, or Hyde Grammar schools. If he or she failed the examination, they would go to a Secondary Modern school like St Peter’s and St Paul’s or Crescent Road schools.
Amid controversial circumstances, comprehensive education was adopted in Tameside by 1980. By then, all secondary schools would follow the comprehensive system. The last borough in Greater Manchester to retain the Eleven Plus examination system was Trafford. To mark this, St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s became All Saints Roman Catholic High School. Its badge would change to the present three-panelled design, sporting the St. Peter and St. Paul iconography and an open book. The Latin motto, Quod Habeo Hoc Do was retained and translates as ‘What I Have I Give’.
Since opening in 1963, All Saints expanded with new classrooms and a canteen closer to the Birch Lane entrance. A purpose built Arts and Science block was added south west of the main block. A temporary classroom was erected beside the hall before being replaced in recent times by a brick structure.
The mid-1980s saw the incorporation of sixth form entry, along with other Catholic high schools in the Tameside area (St. Damian’s in Hartshead and St. Thomas More in Denton). The same two (along with All Saints) would become Grant Maintained/Voluntary Aided schools by 1989. Like Audenshaw Grammar School did shortly after the 1988 Education Act, they would opt out of municipal control.
In the last fifteen years, a new block was built behind the Art/Science and Design Technology blocks. Reflecting its status as a co-educational 11-18 high school, it was renamed All Saints Catholic College. A purpose built bus turnaround was added with room for two 12 metre buses and improved pedestrian access. Its main entrance has moved from Kenyon Avenue to Birch Lane.
Most recently, All Saints Catholic College adopted modern foreign languages as its specialism. A bid to rebuild the school was scuppered by the ConDems’ scrapping of Labour’s Building Schools For The Future project. Even so, it awaits a most interesting fifty more years and a challenging one at that. The next five years alone will see radical changes to the education system, in the shadow of reformed GCSE examinations and liberalised school holiday dates.
All Saints’ pupils will break up for the summer holidays, on the 19 July with an early finish. They will return on the 02 September 2013 for the school’s historical 50th academic year.
Here’s to another fifty years…
S.V., 14 July 2013.
(All Saints R.C. High School pupil, 1990 – 1995)