Happy family memories inspire school’s £1m dining space

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

Memories of happy family mealtimes have inspired a headteacher’s vision for a “stunning” £1m dining space at one of Middlesbrough’s biggest schools.

Louise Dwyer said the new dining hall will be a major step forward in her mission to transform the 1,500-pupil Trinity Catholic College and Sixth Form, which stands on a 30-acre site on Ladgate Lane.

“In my childhood the most important conversations took place when we were eating together,” said Mrs Dwyer.

“I wanted to recreate that home dining experience, a happy time together with friends and colleagues and a sense of togetherness.

“It struck me when I first arrived that there was no real dining experience, everything was grab and go and fast-paced.

“So we set out to create a space where everybody could step away from the hustle and bustle and come together. I had a vision of a modern Hogwarts hall, where we can gather as a tutor group or for special occasions as one of our five houses, which are like families.

“It goes back to traditional values, that sense of belonging and that you should sit down and take time to talk to each other.

“The design is a blank canvas so the pupils can make it their own and have a part in laying the tables and serving one another, more like a home dining room than a canteen.

“It’s going to be stunning, with outside decking for al fresco dining, and it will help transform the whole ethos of our school.”

Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust (NPCAT), which runs the school, announced the new development as the first phase of a multi-million investment that will also include a new sixth form village.

“This investment is a reflection of the confidence the community has in the college,” said NPCAT chief executive officer Hugh Hegarty.

“Mrs Dwyer has proved to be an inspirational headteacher since her appointment in 2019 and her team have had such an impact that the college is currently 200 per cent oversubscribed.

“This new dining space will make the college an even more attractive option for parents and children from all over Middlesbrough.”

NPCAT, which recently announced plans to invest half a million pounds in St Peter’s Catholic College, South Bank, has delivered significant improvements to many of its 23 primary schools since 2018.

Substantial improvement work for Middlesbrough schools St Josephs, St Edward’s and St Thomas More is in the pipeline, together with an ongoing programme of upgrading facilities throughout its estate.