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Headteacher reveals her joy as 'long journey' to secure new primary school confirmed

A headteacher has hailed news that a new primary school, which will take on over 200 pupils, has been formally approved to replace her closing school.

Norfolk County Council has approved a new 210-place school on the site of the current Sacred Heart Catholic school in Swaffham for Sunday, September 1.

Unlike the current fee-paying school, the new voluntary-aided institution will be free admission.

A 25-place nursery class has also been approved following a proposal by the Diocese of East Anglia.

It comes after a six-week consultation saw 79 per cent of respondents saying they "strongly agree" with a new school being formed.

Sister Francis Ridler, headteacher of Sacred Heart School, said: "I am pleased that the legacy of the Sisters who arrived from Vienna in 1914 to set up a school in Swaffham will continue through the new VA Catholic Primary School.

"It has been a long journey to finally have free education on the site of the Sacred Heart Convent.

"This is something those early Sisters who spoke halting English and had little money had anticipated but were completely unaware of our English system.

Sacred Heart School is run by the Daughters of Divine Charity with application forms now available for the replacement primary school
Sacred Heart School is run by the Daughters of Divine Charity with application forms now available for the replacement primary school

"After much praying and hard work by a gallant group from the school and Diocese, parents, pupils and staff both past and present, we will have secured the continuation of the Daughters of Divine Charity's ethos, Service before Self.

"May all who have given encouragement and loyalty to this venture feel proud of this achievement."

A day of thanksgiving and celebration for all the past staff, parents and pupils at Sacred Heart will take place on Saturday, June 29, 105-years after the school's formation.

Application forms for the new school can be found on the Sacred Heart website.

Places will be confirmed by Monday, June 17 so completed forms should be returned to the Diocesan Schools' Service at 21 Upgate, Poringland by Friday, June 7.

Helen Bates, of Schools for the Diocese, said: “This is fantastic news for current and future parents and pupils, the local Swaffham community and for Catholic education in Norfolk."


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