East Anglia: New Catholic schools champions needed

Notre Dame Band

Notre Dame Band

The Diocese of East Anglia is looking for 'local champions' in areas where it wants to open new Catholic schools.

The Diocese's Schools Team is looking for parents, education professionals and parishioners who are keen to support the move by the Diocese to open new Catholic schools in Norwich, Peterborough, Thetford and Cambridgeshire.

East Anglia has some of the most severe shortage of places in Catholic schools in the country due to the demographic changes that have taken place in the region over the past decade. And since Prime Minister Theresa May announced the proposed removal of the 50% cap on faith admissions, the Diocese has been progressing with up to eight new school bids.

The areas of East Anglia where the new schools are being proposed are those with some of the highest need for places and where possible sites for new schools have already been identified.

Now, the Diocese's Schools Team is looking for local champions who want to see these new Catholic schools open, to help them gather support amongst the local communities and show there is a demand that will fill the new school places.

As part of the bidding process, the Diocese needs to show there are families who would want their children to go to a Catholic school if one was available and get them to sign up on a simple form to register their interest.

Assistant Director for Schools at the Diocese of East Anglia, Helen Bates, said: "It is a very exciting time and we are really looking forward to opening new schools which are desperately needed to meet the demand we already have here in East Anglia.

"We want to hear from anyone who supports our plans in the areas we have identified, to firstly sign up to register interest in their children attending a new Catholic school and also to encourage others they know, to also sign up.

"The level of support for any new schools, will be a key factor that the Government will be looking at in deciding whether to approve a new Catholic school or not, and we need to be able to show this demand when we submit out bid in March. So it's really important that people do this over the next few weeks."

In Cambridgeshire, the Diocese wants to establish a high school and a primary school in West Cambourne and another primary in the Cherry Hinton area. The Diocese also wants to establish a new primary school in Peterborough.

A new Catholic primary school is also being proposed in Thetford where there is already a significant Catholic population and where there is further housing planned to the north of the town. Two primaries and possible sixth form provision are also hoped for in north and central Norwich, where pupil numbers are increasing. In addition, the Sacred Heart Convent School in Swaffham is also considering proposals to become a free school with possible expansion plans.

Parents can register their interest in any of the new schools at: http://rcdea.org.uk/freeschools/

If you would like to become a Catholic schools champions and help the Schools Team find other families who are interested, please contact Helen on 01508-495509 or at helen.bates@rcdea.org.uk

Share this story