St Michael's - opening soon
The opening of the UK’s first Catholic free school for secondary education in Cornwall took a step closer after Government funding was secured.
St Michael’s Catholic Small School in Truro has received the go ahead from the Department for Education to open a new secondary school on the site of the former Camborne Girls’ Grammar School.
The agreement means that the doors at Trevu will open as St Michael’s Catholic Secondary School to around 100 pupils on Monday, 3 September.
St Michael’s Principal, Neil Anderson, said: “We’re all thrilled to have finally received the funding go ahead from the Department for Education, which will allow us to open the doors to the country’s first Catholic free school for secondary education in Camborne.
“The amount of work put in by everyone involved in the project in the last two and half years has been incredible and I would like to thank them for their dedication in making this happen.
“There has been a huge amount of consultation with parents, primary schools in West Cornwall and key stakeholders, and the feedback has proved there is a real need for a smaller school offering faith-based learning and high quality academic and vocational activities to exceptional standards.”
With funding secured work will now begin for St Michael’s to transform the building. After closing as a school building in 1997 the site has most recently been used to house a Sure Start children’s centre.
Under the agreement Sure Start will continue to use the building’s gymnasium for the next 12 months until they secure new premises. At the same time the team at St Michael’s will begin work on a new state-of- the-art extension to allow the school to house up to 300 pupils.
Project co-ordinator and former headteacher at St Michael’s, Joyce Sanderson, said: "Our aim has always been to provide high quality faith-based education, which is open for everyone.
“We’ve been able to do this in a small way thanks to charitable donations at St Michael’s Small School. Now we’ve received pupil funding that is on a par with other state schools and academies we will be able to offer parents and pupils in West Cornwall another high quality choice.
“We’re also excited about saving, and breathing new life, into a heritage building as well as working in partnership with Cornwall Council to provide a temporary new home for the Sure Start team and the invaluable work they do in the area. “I’d also like to personally thank CPR Regeneration, Camborne Chamber of Commerce, Camborne Council and Penwith Community Development Trust amongst others for the support we have received in this process.”
Since beginning, the process Mr Anderson and the team have been approached by other Catholic schools from across the country to help advise on the creation of free schools.
For more information see: http://www.stmichaelscornwall.org.uk/index.html