Our Parish school, situated on the same campus as the church, is an integral part of our parish. It was established at the same time as this church was built in 1858. From its second year of opening it was run for nearly 100 years by the Sisters of Charity of St. Paul. Originally the sisters were French, but for the most part they were Irish.
One hears many tales from older parishioners of Sister Catherine and Sister Immaculata, the last sisters at our school. I heard some years ago from an elderly man who, lived in Calder Vale, a little village in the Bowland Fells. He told me how he walked down to school across the fields in his bare feet with his boots around his neck. He would put his boots back on when he came close to the school. In the winter, when he would arrive wet and cold, the sisters would sit him in front of the big roaring fire, in what is now the Reception Classroom, and give him tea and hot toast and butter. The Garstang children were very envious! The sisters left the school in 1969, when the head teacher and all the staff were lay people.
Practically all our local parishioners were pupils at the school and have fond memories - for the most part!
The school leads a family Mass on a Sunday once a term. The teachers and children are involved in parish life in many ways and parishioners help in school with reading and in any way they can.
The Parish has a nursery for pre-school children in what was the old convent. The building has been very well adapted to provide a bright and welcoming space for small children. The emphasis is on learning through play; the staff are all well qualified. Children of many religious affiliations go to the Nursery. Many go on to SS. Mary & Michael’s School. Hummingbirds and the school work very closely together.