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A day in the life of St Mary's College, Hull

(Photograph) - It's been an eventful year so far for St Mary's. The school, a 1,445-pupil, 11-18 RC comprehensive, was awarded specialist sports college status in January. Then an outstanding Ofsted report last month was followed by the opening of pound;2 million-worth of new buildings, including a sixth-form block, music and drama facilities and sports and dining halls.

Head Mike Walsh says the new buildings went up within an incredible five months, and are already making "an immeasurable difference". They were constructed as part of a publicprivate partnership with a local building company, sweeping away 12 old prefabs.

Sports college status has come none too soon. The school has a fine tradition of sporting achievement, with present pupils including internationals in skiing, football, volleyball and rugby league as well as the British women's under-19 table tennis champion.

But until this year St Mary's laboured with poor facilities. Now, with the award of pound;200,000 for capital investment, to be followed by a further pound;600,000 to develop staff and coaching over thenext four years, the school is a recognised centre of excellence and plans to become a top resource for other schools and the local community. Part of this involves working with nearby Frederick Holmes special school on an inclusive PE strategy.

Mike Walsh says it's all been a terrific morale booster, and provides "a tremendous opportunity for young people to develop a healthy lifestyle".

Snaps by Sam Atkins

Tuck in: it's sarnies and crisps for lunch

Can you hear at the back? Mike Walsh welcomes one and all to the new buildings

Next please: business is brisk in the new dining hall

Snip! Foreign minister John Battle (with Mike Walsh on his left) does the honours

Get out of that! Sam and Michael get to grips after a Hull Truck Theatre performance of John Godber's Bouncers

What do you think of it so far? Hull Daily Mail reporter Debbie Sutton canvasses pupils' opinions at the official opening of the new blocks

Thwack! Softball is a big hit with Year 9

I want my mummy: Michael, Frederick and Luke do a mime on babysitting


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