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Go-ahead for new primary school
9:20am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in News
A NEW primary school will be built despite its original sponsor – St Joseph’s Catholic College – being placed into special measures last week.
Over the weekend, Clifton Diocese, which controls the six Catholic primary schools in Swindon, announced Holy Rood Junior School as its new partner in running the new school.
Doubt had been cast over the future of plans to build the new facility in Queens Drive, in the grounds of original partner St Joseph’s, after it was revealed last week the college had been deemed inadequate by Ofsted in a July inspection.
Swindon Council was keen to keep plans afloat to meet growing demand for primary school places in the town centre and provide an extra 30 reception places per year by 2014 and the same again by 2016.
The diocese said it became clear in August the college would no longer be permitted by the Department for Education to front the new primary school.
It began talking to the town’s Catholic schools and reached a decision last week on Holy Rood taking up the mantle.
Holy Rood Junior School will move to the new site from its current base in Upham Road, and expand to become a primary school for children aged four to 11.
Meanwhile Holy Rood Infant School will also expand to full primary school status and eventually operate between its current Groundwell Road site and the newly vacant Upham Road facility.
The new school is expected to be open by September 2014, with one reception class, accommodating 30 new pupils, classes for year four, five and six children, with year three students yet to be decided.
Neither the name nor the uniform for the new school have been decided, though a joint working party, comprising governors from the infant and junior schools, will meet on Thursday to iron out details.
Tony McAteer, headteacher at Holy Rood Junior School, who will take charge of the new site, said: “Things changed, obviously, because the inspection deemed it inappropriate that they should manage the new school.
“I am absolutely delighted we are involved. This is an exciting and challenging expansion, which we are all looking forward to.”
He expected staff at the Upham Road facility would meet the demands of the new school.
Admissions queries and applications for the new site will be accepted in the coming month.
Nick Tarr, diocesan secretary at Clifton Diocese, said the Holy Rood decision was “primarily because they had strong leadership in terms of a headteacher and governing body”.
Paul Hughes, principal at St Joseph’s Catholic College, said: “We are very positive about the news. We have been working with the diocese and Swindon Council for the last few weeks.
“We are part of a network of Catholic schools in Swindon and the primaries are feeders for us. The important thing for us was that provision is there for Catholic children, particularly those wanting a Catholic school
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