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St. Francis' College in the 1990s
The 1990s were a challenging decade for St. Francis’ College. After the Sisters left in 1983 finances were tight and there was a considerable amount of maintenance work that needed to be done on the older parts of the school. The situation was made worse by a falling number of students during the economic recession. It was only in the middle of the decade that the debts from the 1980s were paid off.

However, Mrs Frith, Miss Hegarty and their team of staff worked hard to ensure that pupils received a modern education with a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities. The national curriculum was introduced within the College and ICT facilities developed. New initiatives were developed such as the Eurosixth which offered girls from Germany, Mexico, Japan and Spain the opportunity to learn English, go on cultural visits and study art, drama and general studies for a term or slightly longer.

One constant struggle during the 1990s was the refurbishment of the theatre. In 1991 the theatre was stripped of lighting and sound in anticipation of rebuilding, but interest rates went up and the plans had to be put on hold. It was left to a parent to restore the lighting so the sixth form review could take place. In 1994 the stage front was rebuilt and carpet put down the aisles. A bid for lottery funding was not successful and by the end of the 1990s it became clear that a special fundraising campaign would have to be set up to complete the project.

In 1993 the College celebrated its Diamond Jubilee or 60th Anniversary. The celebrations were launched in January when Oliver Heald, the local MP, attended a dinner held in the school library for local dignitaries. In March 1993 the Jubilee Room was opened by Lord Carlisle who was a governor at St. Francis’ College as well as being a former Secretary of State for Education and Science 1979-1981. The room was set up for functions, concerts and meetings. It became an important part of the school until it was turned into a staff room in 2003. The Jubilee Wildlife garden was opened in June 1993 and was designed by the Prep School. A time capsule was buried in the Nun’s garden and all pupils were presented with a badge designed by Adrian Mallett. The celebrations concluded in October 1993 when Pam Rhodes hosted a Jubilee Songs of Praise from the school chapel.

Sister Elizabeth passed away in Belgium in January 1993 60 years after she had founded St. Francis’ College. Her support and loyalty to the school she founded was constant, and a well-attended memorial mass was held in the school chapel for her on 25th April 1993. In August 1993 Mrs Frith retired after a career of over 20 years at St. Francis’ College and her deputy Miss Hegarty was appointed Headmistress.

In 1993 one of the college governors, Nicole Hodgson, also died in 1993 and a special commemorative stained glass window was installed in the small side chapel of the college to celebrate her life.

At the end of the 1990s three very influential governors of St. Francis’ College retired Lord Carlisle, Mr Neil Phoenix and Mr Alistair Gibbs. Mr Phoenix and Mr Gibbs had of course been instrumental in saving the school from closure in 1983 and had been governors for 16 years. The Gibbs gallery in the Broadway building and Phoenix courtyard were named as a way of acknowledging all they did for the College.
Gallery Photos
Miss Hegarty and Dr Gough in 1993
Miss Hegarty and Dr Gough in 1993
Leavers 1993 with Miss Semmens
Leavers 1993 with Miss Semmens
Staff 1993
Staff 1993
Art Room
Art Room
Biology lab with Mrs Brand
Biology lab with Mrs Brand
1992 Charity Bus
1992 Charity Bus
Boarders 1999
Boarders 1999
D of E 1998
D of E 1998
Bad Taste day 1999
Bad Taste day 1999
Prep Harvest 1997
Prep Harvest 1997
Head Girls Past and Present
Head Girls Past and Present
Diamond Jubilee 1993
Diamond Jubilee 1993
Diamond Jubilee Mrs Frith and cake
Diamond Jubilee Mrs Frith and cake
Informal Sixth Form Photo 1991
Informal Sixth Form Photo 1991
Wildlife Garden opening 1993
Wildlife Garden opening 1993
Library 1994
Library 1994
Prep Victorian day 1995
Prep Victorian day 1995
Ski Trip 1997
Ski Trip 1997
Sixth Form Common Room 1995
Sixth Form Common Room 1995
Bring Your Parents to School Day 1996
Bring Your Parents to School Day 1996
Computers
Computers
Dining Room
Dining Room
Miss Hegarty in Chapel
Miss Hegarty in Chapel
Prep with Mrs White
Prep with Mrs White
Prep Staff 1993
Prep Staff 1993
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