The monument in the grounds of Bagatelle
In 1909, when the religious teaching orders were expelled from France, the FCJ Sisters opened a house in Guernsey, where they lived in great poverty for two years. They were then invited by the Soeurs de St Andre to take over their two schools in Jersey at Val Plaisant and St Matthew's.
The following year, the FCJ Sisters opened a boarding school in Bagatelle. The Jesuits, also expelled from France, opened a school in what is now Highlands College, and many families, unable to find a Christian education in France, sent their boys to the Jesuits and their girls to FCJ.
Eventually both St Matthew's Convent and Bagatelle were closed and only the Convent in David Place remained. Bagatelle, which had earlier been a private house, eventually became the Palace Hotel.
As well as housing the community, the site at David Place served both as a preparatory and secondary school until 1957. In that year, because of the increasing number of pupils, the Sisters bought Midvale House and transferred the preparatory school there. As it was impossible to extend the school premises at David Place or provide adequate space for games, in 1967 they bought Grainville Manor, in St Saviour.
In January 1969 work began on the new Convent and school building. The preparatory school was opened in September 1970 and the Convent and secondary school a year later. In 1979, with the number of pupils falling, there was a reorganisation of the Catholic Schools on the island. The FCJ Sisters gave up their secondary school and the site is now home to Grainville secondary school.
The primary school remained, however, and in 1981 an additional wing was added to respond to the rise in numbers. A further extension was added in 1996, funded in full by the FCJ Sisters.
Pictures from the annual procession in 1959
Pictures from a prospectus for the school at Bagatelle
The prospectus contained the following information: Extras
Piano, with Professor, £2 18s per term
Piano with Mistress, £1 10s
Violin or mandolin, £1 10s
Singing, £1 10s
Drawing and painting, £1 1s
Dancing and Callisthenics, £1 1s
Class books and stationery 5s
Use of library and games, 5s
Pupils are prepared for the Cambridge Local Examinations, College of Preceptors, Royal Academy of Music and South Kensington Science and Arts.
A report on the conduct and progress of the pupils is sent to the parents at the end of each half-term.
No uniform dresses are required for weekdays, but a black dress, jacket and hat for Sundays. The style and make are optional.
With a view to habits of order and economy, the pupils will keep account of and pay for mending, music and other current expenses, and will therefore require a little money.