St Joesph's Catholic Primary School Badge

St Joseph's Selly Oak

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School - Kings Norton, Birmingham

St Joseph's Selly Oak images


August 30th 1907

I, Mary Gay, entered my duties here as Head Mistress on August 26th 1907. Miss Ellen 
Buckley and Miss Mary O'Grady, both uncertified Assistants, also commenced their duties on August 26th. The first week I admitted 80 children.

The first entry in the school log for St Josephs began a history which has seen monumental events from two world wars, the great depression and the rise and fall of fascism and communism, the founding of the United Nations and the common market and no less than twenty-six British Prime Ministers. Therefore it is impossible to do justice in this short piece to the commitment and work of everyone who has been involved with the school past and present.

History 1

The school was housed originally in an old school building in Station Road, with three primary classes downstairs, two senior classes upstairs and the chapel at the end of the school building which doubled up as a classroom. The children attending the school ranged from 5 - 14 years of age.

The school witnessed the end of the First World War, on the 11th November 1918 the entry for the school log book reads:

The children were dismissed at 11.30 a.m., owing to the reception of the war news, i.e the signing of the Armistice. Before School closed, a short address was given and patriotic songs were sung.

Miss Gay retired in 1944 after thirty-seven years as Head Mistress! It was a sign of the times that her last log entry reads:

The girls had been working very assiduously on knitted garments for the Merchant Navy Service and a pleasing feature of the school has been the many visits of old scholars in these war days returning home from leave from many war fronts.

Mary Butler took over as Head Mistress in May 1944 and the School celebrated V.E. Day on 8th May 1945. It must have been a great party because they had a V.E. Day plus one day off as well! In 1953, when Bishop Challenor opened, St. Josephs became a Primary School with 120 children on roll. A H.M.I report at the time said:

The majority of the children appear to come from homes where they are well cared for. They are well behaved and courteous.

 History 2

It is nice to see that some things never change. Mary Butler retired in December 1961 after seventeen years as Head Mistress.

Mr. Gerry Dudgeon became Head Teacher in January 1962. The school has grown considerably to a total of 297 on roll and was to rise even further to 326 children in 1963. It was not surprising to read an R.E Inspection report on 28th May 1963, which concluded:

I congratulate the Head Master and the Staff on the work they are doing in the School.

Gerry Dudgeon went on to lead St. Josephs up until July 1990 - over twenty-eight years as Head Teacher.

Jim Henry had the privilege of taking over as Head Teacher in September 1990. St. Josephs was immediately plunged into the campaign for the new school, with the old school being condemned and literally pulled down around our ears! However, the situation showed the real strength and commitment of our school and Parish community, which had been developed over the years. A great tribute must be paid to all those who relentlessly kept the pressure on the Government of the day to release money to rebuild the school.

When the decision was announced to rebuild the school, The Guardian Newspaper wrote:

It was a day that a small primary school changed government policy.

St. Josephs was rebuilt on Selly Oak Rd and blessed by Archbishop Maurice Couve do Murville on February 2nd 1995. We have since been through four successful Ofsted and R.E Inspections, as well as innumerable changes, such as funding, testing at KS1 and KS2, league tables, national curriculums, etc. But in essence, our school community remains to pass on our faith to a new generation of children and to try and give them the quality of education they deserve.

Mr Henry was headteacher for twenty years until August 2010.

Mrs. Rachel Gould became Head Teacher in November 2010 and was in the post until December 2013.

In September 2014, Mrs. Jackie Tomlinson became our Executive Head Teacher. She was succeeded in September 2017 by our current Principal, Mr Paul Greavy.