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Strong support for town’s new primary school on site of Sacred Heart

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Following strong public support, a new state-funded Roman Catholic primary school has taken one step closer to opening in Swaffham.

After 90 per cent of respondents said they wanted to see a new Catholic primary school in the town, the Diocese of East Anglia has decided to proceed with its proposal to the county council.

The school would open on the site of the current Sacred Heart School which is due to close in July after the summer term.

Helen Bates, assistant director for schools at the diocese of East Anglia, said: “We want to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our consultation about the new school.

“We also received support from local civic leaders including Swaffham Town Council.

“This level of support means we can now go through with the legal requirements needed to apply to open a new school.”

The proposal for the school, which needs to be finalised by the county council, said there will be 210 places open to boys and girls aged four to 11.

Moreover, there will be a 25-place nursery class open to those who have reached their third birthday.

Sacred Heart School where the new state-funded school is proposed (7798201)
Sacred Heart School where the new state-funded school is proposed (7798201)

It is expected the school capacity will grow to the full roll of 210 over a period of five years after initially starting with roughly 80 pupils.

The current headteacher of St Martha’s Catholic Primary School, Aidan McGovern, would become executive headteacher of both schools as part of a partnership.

The proposal comes after a six-week consultation period took place between Monday, January 7 and Friday, February 15 for the Diocese of East Anglia.

In total, there were 137 responses to the questionnaire with a total of 108 (79 per cent) respondents saying they ‘strongly agree’ and nine per cent saying they ‘agree’.

Nine per cent of respondents (12 people) said they ‘strongly disagree’ and two people said they ‘disagree.’

Sacred Heart School announced in January it would be closing after an unsuccessful fundraising campaign.

Comments about the diocese’s proposal should be made to Norfolk County Council between now and Friday, April 5.

This can be done be emailing schoolreview@norfolk.gov.uk or writing to School Organisation Team (Bay 34), Floor 8, Norfolk County Council, County Hall, Norwich, NR1 2DH.

If approved by the county council, the school will open on Sunday, September 1, 2019.

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