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St. Therese of Lisieux Primary School, Belfast
Community Open Day -Celebrating our 50th Anniversary-Wednesday May 1st at 10 am [Open Image] | 🎊🎉1973-2023 Celebrating Our 50th Anniversary 1973-2023 🎉🎊
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Historical Facts

St Therese of Lisieux PS opened in 1973 with 65 pupils, boys and girls, in P1, P2 and P3 in a red-bricked, semi-detached house, on the Somerton Road. The number of children grew quickly until we had 440 pupils in the school. This resulted in a need to accommodate more children, and mobile classrooms belonging to Little Flower Secondary School and St. Patrick’s, Bearnageeha, were set up in the playground. Dominican College, having kindly given us their former classrooms, also gave us textbooks when their preparatory school closed. We also used their chapel for services. Sister Magdalene from Little Flower was a pioneer in giving her senior pupils work experience in our school. These girls were marvellous in the help they gave to teachers, both in the classroom and on outdoor visits.

Due to an expanding parish population, the school was soon operating on four different sites. Every morning, lunchtime and afternoon, lines of St. Therese pupils could be seen up and down the Somerton Road, as they made their way to their classrooms. To leave the main house at 65 Somerton Road and visit the classrooms at the four different sites meant walking three quarters of a mile! In the Winter, this was quite miserable for teachers and pupils, and everyone looked forward to a new building on a single site. As the school community continued to grow, the staff, teaching and support were kept extremely busy, but they all came together and brought out the best in everybody, teachers and pupils alike.

In June 1984, the Department of Education confirmed that the new school on our current site would be built and would cater for 322-354 pupils. After many years of struggling to acquire the right to build a school on the Chichester Park site, it was with a great sense of achievement that parishioners watched the first foundations of the school being laid.

Thursday 30th June 1988 marked the end of an era as staff and pupils celebrated their last day on the different sites on Somerton Road. At 12 noon the hand bell was rung for the very last time in 65 Somerton Road. Classrooms were piled high with boxes of books and equipment, ready to be set up again in time for the new school year. After a busy summer preparing a brand new school, the staff were delighted to welcome their first pupils through the doors of the new school building in September 1988.

Happily, the children settled in very quickly and were delighted with their bright new school and great playground. For the first time in the history of St. Therese of Lisieux PS, staff and pupils were united on a single site. It was a welcome relief for teachers who had worked in the previous, more challenging conditions.

The years since then have flown by and the school has grown from strength to strength. It became clear that we were in need of more space to accommodate the ever-growing community. The Lisieux Building with three additional classrooms, music room, cloakrooms, toilets and storage areas was built and officially opened by Bishop Treanor in 2009.

Do you have any old pictures of the school on Somerton Road? We would love to see them.

Please share them via email.