St Dominic's Priory School is an independent Catholic School located in the town of Stone, Staffordshire. Stone, itself, is an attractive, thriving market town with an expanding population of 16,500, halfway between Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford. The school buildings are set within the pleasant grounds of St Dominic’s Convent, which was founded with the school in the 19th Century by Mother Margaret Hallahan. The school was originally known as ‘Blessed Imelda's Enpension School’.
In 1854 Mother Margaret brought two pensioners from her convent at ‘The Foleys’ in Longton, to a cottage rented in Station Road. This was the nucleus of the Convent Boarding School! By 1857 the numbers had increased to eight and on September 17th 1863 the building of the school apartments were completed and the school was opened and placed under the patronage of Blessed Imelda.
According to the school history, it was founded after Imelda, the niece of one of the sisters, refused to leave the convent holding on to the altar rails in the choir, so it was agreed that she could stay as a little boarder. It was her father, Jim Beech, who built the chapel of St. Anne’s (in the garden) for Ven. Fr.Dominic, and when he died he handed it over to Mother Margaret along with the field it stood, for her to build her dream Convent and School.
The school still has a close relationship with the resident Dominican Community of Sisters, with St Mary’s Nursing Home and with the Parish Church of the Immaculate Conception and St Dominic, the centre of an active Catholic community with a resident priest and deacon.
Within the grounds stands the small chapel of St Anne’s designed by Pugin. This school chapel was the centre of the Catholic mission started by Blessed Dominic Barberi in 1843 and continues to be a place of pilgrimage. Both the parish church and the chapel are used by the school for Mass and other services. The buildings have Grade II listed status and house various and important stained glass images, statues and gargoyles, as assigned in Public sculpture of Staffordshire and the Black Country (G. Noszlopy, F. Waterhouse).
From September 2016 the school has welcomed boys into their senior school. They now accept boys and girls from the ages of 3 months to 16 years into their three departments; Nursery, Prep and Senior, located on the same site. All the departments occupy their own self-contained buildings but are united as one school.
The latest ISI report (Independent Schools Inspectorate) stated that the pastoral care is excellent and as a small school each pupil is known and receives outstanding care. It also said that the pupils were self-confident, self-aware and respect themselves and others. Another area that was highlighted was the small class sizes, which allowed the pupils’ needs and strengths to be addressed.
The school consistently achieves high examination results in their end of year GCSEs, which highlights the strong academic tradition and reputation for giving an excellent all-round education.
As our school is part of the Dominican Family and as such the Dominican motto, ‘Laudare , benedicere, praedicare’ – ‘to praise to bless ,to preach the word of God’- ensures that God is at the centre of all that we do.