A little more than a decade ago, a young teacher was completing her training at a Newcastle primary school, little suspecting that she would one day become its headteacher. Lisa Hoey returned to St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School this month as its newly-appointed head, having previously spent nine years there teaching after she first qualified.

I am privileged to have worked at St Catherine’s as a teacher and am extremely honoured to return as Headteacher. It’s lovely to be back! I already know some of the children who are in Years 5 and 6, as they were here when I was at the school before.

I still feel like part of the family, and I’ve had the most wonderful welcome from the children and from their families too. The children I hadn’t met before are now challenging me to learn their names by the end of the week,” said Miss Hoey, who joined the school from St Mary’s, Forest Hall, where she was deputy headteacher.

The staff members at St Catherine’s have also given their new head a warm welcome.

Miss Hoey continued: “One thing we did was a staff team-building day where we painted self-portraits. I already knew some of the staff, but there were plenty of new faces too and it was a good opportunity to get to know each other. The portraits are now up on the wall and the children are enjoying trying to guess who’s who.

Miss Hoey’s predecessor, Michael Ewing, retired at Christmas having spent 27 years at the school.

She commented: “I worked with Mr Ewing for nine years, and it was under his leadership that I developed the drive and passion to develop as a leader. He did a wonderful job, creating a well-established school and successfully building up school and community links.

St Catherine’s, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, is a member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust, and was recently named a School of Sanctuary, in recognition of its inclusivity and welcoming ethos.

Miss Hoey added: “I’ve felt extremely welcomed by everyone, and the support I’ve been offered has been huge. The school has such a strong family feel, and I want to work to continue to build that strong sense of community and to drive it forward, supporting all our children to be ready socially and academically for the next stage.

My vision is for the whole school team to help each child live out the words of St Catherine of Sienna, ‘Be who God created you to be, and you will set the world on fire!’

I am dedicated to ensuring we continue to follow the school motto, encouraging the children to ‘Let their Light Shine’ and helping them become successful learners and well-rounded individuals who are ready to make the next steps in their journey.