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New Swaffham school seeking to expand after first year and Covid-19 challenges




An executive head has been reflecting on the first year following the launch of a new primary school in a Norfolk market town.

Aidan McGovern is head of the new Sacred Heart Voluntary Aided Primary School and Little Pedlars Nursery in Swaffham. The school is funded by the Government and supported by the Catholic Diocese of East Anglia.

Mr McGovern said: "We are a growing school with dedicated staff and offer classes from Reception through to Year 6 with places available in each year group. We have capacity to be a one-form entry primary school of 210 children.

The 'Underwater Sea' display at the school. Picture: Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School
The 'Underwater Sea' display at the school. Picture: Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School

"As with all schools across the country, our first year has been interrupted by Covid-19. Our staff have been on hand to support the children as they continue their learning, both at home and, for those able to attend, at school."

The former Sacred Heart Convent and school, located on Mangate Street, was run by a religious group known as the Daughters of Divine Charity since 1914 before it was put up for sale earlier this year.

Whereas, the convent school was fee-paying, the new school is free to attend having opened on the site in September 2019.

Pupils doing the Cha Cha Slide. Picture: Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School
Pupils doing the Cha Cha Slide. Picture: Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School

Swaffham Town Council has recently purchased the Sacred Heart Barn Theatre and swimming pool at the site with the view to it becoming a town asset.

Despite this purchase, Mr McGovern said the voluntary aided school has plenty of facilities including a dedicated computer room, a science laboratory, a home economics room, a library, a gymnasium, as well as a large field and outdoor learning areas.

He added: "The Catholic nature of our school means that we are universal in our approach to those who attend the school. The fundamental Christian values and ethos permeate the way in which we deliver the curriculum and support our families in their children’s learning journey and their faith.

Children from Sacred Heart with their rockets they created. Picture: Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School
Children from Sacred Heart with their rockets they created. Picture: Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School

"We have fun, enjoy our learning and are excited about the future."

During lockdown, the students have been making artwork as part of a new 'Underwater Sea' display to brighten up the gym. which is also used as an assembly hall.

And Year 6 pupils voted to explore how rockets are made, before designing and making their own.

The school has shared some thoughts from their pupils on returning to school after lockdown.

A selection of these thoughts said:

  • “I felt like a new girl again because I hadn’t been in for such a long time.”
  • “I was excited because I could see my friends and teachers, but nervous because I wasn’t sure how school would be and I couldn’t get too close to my friends in the playground.”
  • “There were some changes in the school. We all have our own desks and stationery so no sharing and no quarrels, brilliant!”
  • “We have to sit in lines to keep two metres apart, but we get to eat our lunch at our desks every day.”
  • “We have to move around the school in one direction and there is a lot of lining up, two metres apart, to wash our hands as only one person can be in the toilets at one time.”
  • “We are all enjoying being back because we get more teacher time and also more downtime stuff like art, colouring and puzzles.”
  • “As there are only a few of us, we get to do different things that we don’t usually have room for - like learning to do the Cha Cha Slide - we are all cool movers!”

To find out more about the school, visit www.shcprimary.co.uk.



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