School History

St Theresa’s is a Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School situated in North London in the Parish of St Philip the Apostle, Church End, Finchley. The school was opened in the Autumn of 1966 by the Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Heenan.

The school has its roots in the vision of Blessed Marie Thérèse de Soubiran, who in Castelnaudary, a small town in the vicinity of Carcassonne in the South of France, founded the Sisters of Marie Auxiliatrice in the year 1864.

As the First World War drew to a close the Archbishop of Westminster approached the Congregation and asked the Sisters if they would be willing to extend their service of the Church further and open a Grammar School in Finchley, a part of North London that had very little in the way of facilities for the education of Catholic children.

In 1918 the Finchley Manor House on East End Road was purchased and Manor House School was born. To it was attached a private junior school for children from kindergarten to the age of 11. The years passed and the Catholic population continued to grow until in the 1960s the hierarchy once again appealed to the Congregation.

This time the Sisters were asked to build a Primary School. They immediately entered into negotiations with the Church and the Local Education Authority. To provide the funds necessary to make a start, the Manor House property, convent, school and grounds was mortgaged. The kitchen garden and tennis courts were to be used as a site and work on the new school building project began.

In the summer of 1966 the building work was completed and that autumn St Theresa’s Primary School opened its doors to a new generation of Catholic children. From the beginning all members of the school community worked as a team. As time passed and the Sisters either retired or moved out into ministries elsewhere. Sr Mary Perpetua Wilson who left St Theresa’s to take up missionary work in Africa was the last Sister to be a full-time member of staff. She died in Cameroon in 1995.

In 1981 the building debt on the school was finally cleared when the Manor House Convent was sold and the mortgage paid off. St Theresa’s then continued as a one-form entry school managed by a Board of Governors under the Trusteeship of the Sisters of Marie Auxiliatrice.

In 2011 the Sisters handed over the Trusteeship to the Diocese of Westminster. In September of that year Miss Maureen Kelly was appointed as Headteacher. In July 2012 Sister Carmel as the last Sister to represent the former trustees on the Board of Governors withdrew as governor but gave her time working with small groups of children in Challenge Maths classes. She now devotes her time to her work with Cafod but remains a close friend of the school.