About The School

A few years after the church was opened the Countess turned her attention to the Catholic children of the parish. She wanted them to have what she never had, - a good, solid Catholic education. The first St. Mary's School was established in what is now the church crypt (probably about 1848 although no records of the early days exist). It was just one classroom for approx. 30 children. In 1852/53 a purpose built school was opened with two classrooms. (This is now St. Mary's Parish Hall). Once again this was financed by the Countess of Clare, who also paid the salary of the two teachers. It was built, like most Catholic schools in Victorian times, on land next to the church. This was convenient for the priest to visit the schoolchildren.

Most of the Catholic families lived in the town, near the church and they would be taken from school into the church for weekly Mass and Benediction.


In subsequent years the school was extended and portable classrooms constructed in what is now the church car park as the number of schoolchildren increased. When the Presentation Sisters occupied the convent buildings in 1948, several of the nuns taught in the school. In the 1950s Sister Baptist (still resident at the convent and fondly remebered by former pupils) became the Headteacher of St. Mary's School.

In the 1970s it became clear that the school had outgrown the site adjacent to the church and in 1977 a new purpose built school was opened in Ampthill Road (just south of St. Cecilia's Abbey). The old school next to the church was then converted into a parish centre.

More information on the history of St. Mary's Church and school can be found in "Ryde to Rome" (history of the early days of the parish) by Peter Clarke which is available in the church crypt or repository.

Visit St. Mary's Primary School's own website

Contact Information

Website: http://stmarysryde.com
Address: Ampthill Road, Ryde, Isle of Wight, UK, PO33 1LJ
Email: admin.stmarys@lineone.net
Telephone #: 01983 562000

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